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Yiaw Dong taskforce seizes seven elephant tusks

Sep 25. 2018
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By The Nation

The National Parks Department’s special wildlife crime-suppression taskforce, Yiaw Dong, on Tuesday inspected a house in Nonthaburi before seizing seven elephant tusks weighing about 46 kilograms in total for DNA checks.

The taskforce, in a joint operation with natural resources and environmental crime-suppression police, suspected that some of the tusks found in the house may not have derived from domesticated elephants, considering their appearance. 

DNA checks are needed to verify them before further legal proceedings are conducted against the owner, said the taskforce’s vice chief, Nuwat Leelapata.

Parts and ivory from African elephants are not allowed for possession under Thai law, in a bid to improve regulation on the issue in recent years after Thailand was pressured to do so by the international community and CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

The house owner has also been charged with illegal possession of hardwood, as 44 processed planks of the wood were found stored at the property. 

This year, the Yiaw Dong taskforce has managed to make 40 arrests for illegal smuggling or possession of wildlife.

Wildlife crimes have become more sophisticated these days, part due to a rise in the use of social media to elude authorities when conducting such criminal activity.

Despite more arrests, traffickers and traders continue to challenge the authorities with the help of the technology, as sales of wildlife are still posted on Facebook with no less frequency than last year, Nuwat said.

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