Protection of elephants to sustainable use of ivory in Thailand

Chaitae, Apinya, Gordon, Iain J., Addison, Jane, and Marsh, Helene (2022) Protection of elephants to sustainable use of ivory in Thailand. Oryx, 56 (4). pp. 601-608.

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The elephant has deep cultural significance in Thailand and for the Thai people. The development of legal protection for Thai elephants reflects concerns about both human livelihoods and elephant conservation. Thus, the legal status of privately-owned domesticated, or captive Asian elephants, differs from that of wild Asian elephants, a situation that has consequences for the lawful use of ivory from domesticated animals. Prior to 2015, the lack of comprehensive measures to control the Thai ivory market enabled the laundering of illegally-sourced ivory through the country. The 2015 legal reforms of the Thai Government: 1) introduced strict controls over the possession and domestic trade of ivory from domesticated Asian elephants, and 2) aligned the protection of African elephants and their ivory with the CITES Convention. Nonetheless, the sustainability of the Thai ivory trade remains disputed, and international pressure to close the commercial trade in domestic ivory persists. This paper reviews this complex situation to inform future reforms. Consolidation of related laws would ease the enforcement tasks of officers and facilitate the compliance of stakeholders. Use of an electronic database would enhance the monitoring of ivory flow, as well as aid the implementation and enforcement of laws. This situation is a valuable example of the tensions between national and international attempts to conserve species important in wildlife trade.

Item ID: 65693
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-3008
Keywords: CITES, elephant, Elephas maximus, ivory trade, legislative controls, livelihood, sustainability, Thailand
Copyright Information: This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2021 02:15
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 50%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4410 Sociology > 441002 Environmental sociology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960799 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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