Wildlife Activist Organises ‘Silent March’ to Demand End to Ivory Trade

 | Thu 14 Aug 2014 23:23 ICT

CityNews – A prominent Chiang Mai wildlife activist is urging supporters to join a “silent march” to demand an end to the ivory trade and the illegal poaching of elephants.

A “global march for elephants and rhinos” will be held in cities around the world on October 4. But with demonstrations banned by Thailand’s military rulers, the founder of Chiang Mai’s Elephant Nature Park and the Save Elephant Foundation, Sangduen “Lek” Chailert, is organising a silent campaign instead.

The “Devil Wears Ivory” campaign was launched on Tuesday and continues till October 4. Supporters are urged to take a photo of themselves wearing a campaign T-shirt and submit it to the foundation along with a quote about why ending the ivory trade is important.

“Elephants are killed every day in SE Asia and in Africa for their tusks,” says Chailert. “We can no longer sit and wait for CITES and others to enforce an end to the ivory trade. It is up to us, as animal lovers, to raise awareness and to ask consumers around the world to stop supporting this cruel trade.”

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, is an international treaty governing the wildlife trade, but it is regularly flouted by wildlife smugglers and poachers who kill elephants for their tusks.

Chailert says she has gained the support of numerous politicians, dignitaries and Thai celebrities, and more are expected to pledge their support for the campaign in the coming days.

Anyone wanting to join the campaign can visit the Devil Wears Ivory website at www.devilwearsivory.com for more information. There is also a Save Elephant Foundation Facebook page, and supporters are urged to tweet about the need to stop the ivory trade using the hashtag #devilwearsivory.

Meanwhile, a number of agencies are holding a conference on elephant health and conservation measures. The conference opened yesterday at Suan Dusit Rajabhat University Lampang, and will finish tomorrow. Participants are discussing elephant conservation measures and focusing on how to improve the efficiency of medical care for the endangered animals, MCOT reported.

Pasakon Meevasana, director of the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre, said there were more than 50,000 elephants in Thailand 50 years ago. Today there are less than 500, both wild and captive. The causes of elephant deaths include poaching, accidents, natural causes and diseases, the report said.