By Pongphon Sarnsamak
The World Bank is pressing Thailand to tighten its control over illegal poaching and trading in wildlife after finding that the country is a hub of the illicit tiger trade.
“We will ask the Thai prime minister and her government to take serious action against tiger poachers as she seemed interested in this subject, and with her leadership this could be achieved,” Keshav Varma, director of the World Bank’s Global Tiger Initiative, said yesterday.
A recent study by Traffic and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) showed that Thailand was the most significant location for the interdiction of the live tiger trade, followed by Laos, Indonesia and Vietnam.
“Given the low population estimates for wild tigers in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam combined with the presence of captive tiger facilities within these three countries, there are serious questions as to the source of these live tigers in trade,” said Nick Cox, species programme manager for WWF Greater Mekong.
From 2000-12, 1,425 tiger parts were seized across 13 tiger range countries. A total of 654 seizures of body parts ranging from skin and bones to teeth, claws and skulls took place during this period. About 110 tigers were killed on average for trade per year or just over two per week. About 89 per cent of the seizures occurred outside protected areas.