By Tanpisit Lerdbamruchai
Three Thai butterfly species are close to extinction but can still be traded under international laws.
Watana Sakchoowong, of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, said Tuesday the endangered species are Teinopalpus imperialis, Troides amphysus and T Helena.
They are listed in Cites’ Appendix II alongside the Bhutanitis lidderdalii and T aeacus butterflies.
Insects on Appendix II can be traded but with certain control measures. Only the species on Appendix I receive full legal protection and cannot be sold.
“The Bhutanitis lidderdalii butterflies have vanished from Thailand for more than three decades already,” he said.
T aeacus butterflies could still be found but only in small numbers, he said.
Thailand is home to about one million butterfly species, 20 of which are protected under Thai laws and five under Cites. The country is a butterfly exporter, sending millions of pupas to Europe each year. “The major buyer is Britain,” he said.
The 16th CITES conference – a triennial forum governing the international trade in flora and fauna – is being held in Bangkok and will run until Thursday.