Posts Tagged ‘Poaching’

Thai Government rushes in to protect elephant poachers

February 27, 2012

Thai show elephants

The Thai Government relies heavily on the $2 billion tourist industry which in turn uses elephants as a focus for attracting tourists. But most of these “show” elephants (estimated to be 100- 200 per year) are captured as young calves by poachers who kill their mothers when trying to protect their calves. But the Thai Government which makes all the politically correct noises about protecting elephants is reluctant to disturb the poachers and the tourist industry.  So when poachers are threatened the Thai Government (ironically through its National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department) rushes to their defence.

The Age: A partly Australian-funded wildlife rescue foundation whose chief spoke out about the illegal poaching of baby elephants in Thailand has been raided and had 103 animals taken away by Thai parks officials. … witnesses say many of the animals, including endangered species, were injured during the raids on the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand centre by up to 100 armed men, some of whom wore balaclavas to hide their identities.

The raids over four days followed claims by the organisation’s founder and director, Edwin Wiek, that more than half the elephants in tourist camps across Thailand had been illegally caught in the wild when they were young, sometimes by poachers who shot their mothers or other members of their herd that tried to protect them. …….

Thailand’s National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department said the animals were seized because the foundation failed to produce paperwork showing they were being kept legally. “We need to enforce Thai laws that have been issued to protect those animals,” said the department’s director-general, Damrong Pidech.

Ironically many of the animals seized were originally  rescued from government centres and will now find themselves back in these centres.

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