ELEPHANT EXPORT PROPOSALS CAUSING CONCERNS

Wildlife conservation groups and Chart Thai Pattana MP Nikorn Chamnong are opposing the export of Thai elephants and demanding that the Commerce Ministry review its elephant export regulations.

Opposition to the resumption of domestic elephant exports, after a ten-year ban, was voiced at a seminar on Friday entitled “Export of Thai Elephants and Issues of Concern”, organised by the World Wildlife Protection Organisation Thailand.

During the seminar, Mr. Nikorn said the current export regulations are unclear and the Internal Trade Department of the Commerce Ministry should not be involved in this matter.

Before elephants are allowed to be exported, he suggested a check is made to find out how many Thai elephants had been exported and how many of them were smuggled out.

Mr. Harnnarong Yaowalert, an environment expert, said that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment should have been the authority to push for a law relating to the export of elephants, not the Commerce Ministry, noting that elephants are not like other export items. He pointed out that there are loopholes in the export regulations.

Somsak Sunthornnavapat, of the World Wildlife Protection Organisation Thailand, observed that the issuance of elephant export regulations appears to have been done in a rush.

He pointed out that, in the past, there was no follow-up system to keep track of the exported animals, to find out whether they were treated well or abused by their new owners, adding that the new regulations are still unclear on this matter.