Over 3,440 domestic elephants have been registered to have their DNA checked to verify their identities and origins.
The move is a renewed effort to recheck the country’s elephant population following the issue of an order under Article 44 of the interim constitution last September.
The article, issued under the sweeping power afforded the National Council for Peace and Order chief Prayut Chan-o-cha, requires concerned agencies to register the elephants for a fresh round of DNA checks, which would then be certified along with the animals’ identification documents.
Under the order, they must finish the work by March. The project aims to help close a loophole involving the illegal smuggling of wild elephants and those incorrectly registered as domesticated elephants. The problem is rampant and severely affects the country’s wildlife conservation efforts.
The department had collected blood samples and animal tissue, among other samples, to extract the animals’ DNA and had finished doing that with 1,261 elephants.
The department, along with the Interior Ministry and the Agriculture Ministry, are working together to amend relevant laws to better protect elephants.
At present, domestic elephants are registered with the Interior Ministry using identification documents, which are based on the animals’ rough marks and have resulted in a loophole leading to exploitation.
Anything that can be done to stop elephants being illegally taken from the wild has to be commended and it is another step towards this despicable practice being eradicated.
(Source: The Nation, Thailand)