Easing of protection for Thai crocodiles sought
The CITES partners are expected to come to a resolution today on whether or not protection for Thai crocodiles should be lowered.
Thai officials have been lobbying hard for protection regulations to be eased in the hope of expanding its export of crocodile products. At present, Thailand is exporting Bt3 billion to Bt4 billion worth of crocodile goods.
"This trade has not endangered crocodiles in the wild because we have so many crocodile farms," Fisheries Department's chief Wimol Jantrarotai explained yesterday.
He spoke after he and relevant officials held an informal meeting with representatives from several countries yesterday.
According to Wimol, Thailand had received good response from China, Croatia, Cambodia and several African countries, but representatives from the US did not attend the informal meeting and expressed concerns about the shrinking population of wild crocodiles.
"Though Thailand only has about 200 crocodiles in the wild, we are releasing more every year," Wimol said.