from the Phuket Gazette
Last week’s rescue of the Phuket Zoo orangutan, Milo, led to a firestorm of social and political activity bolstering efforts to close legal loopholes abused by exotic animal traders in Thailand.
An amendment to the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act BE 2535 (1992) that will require those who posses animals named on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) list to have proof of the origin of the animal, as well as a permit for them, will be put in front of the National Council for Peace and Order this week.
“This isn’t just about Milo in Phuket. We believe there are many more illegally owned orangutan in Thailand. However, at this point we have no idea how many,” said Metee Meechai, director of the Wildlife Conservation Office, Protected Area Regional Office 5 of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP). “If you are in possession of one of these great apes, or know someone who is, please bring them to us. At this point, we can ensure that you will not face the full force of the law.
”Thailand joined CITES in 1983, but failed to implement any laws that empowered officers to enforce regulations in line with CITES until 1992. Nonetheless, the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act, BE 2535 (1992) came with a grandfather clause that allowed those already in possession of orangutans to do so legally.
This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of the Phuket Gazette. It can be read in its entirety here.