Siam Crocodile retains top CITES protection listing
Thailand's proposal to downgrade the Siamese freshwater crocodile from Appendix I, the list of most endangered species, has once again been defeated.
Fishery Department’s director general Wimol Jantrarotai on Wednesday asked the plenary meeting of the 16th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), currently being held in Bangkok, to reopen the vote to move the crocodile from the top protection under the CITES’s Appendix I to Appendix II, which would allow Thailand to export captive crocodiles to other countries, subject to certain controls.
The proposal was defeated last Friday as it did not get the two-thirds majority vote from participants.
The department again submitted the proposal to the meeting in the hope to winning a majority vote.
But the proposal was defeated again by the plenary meeting, with a large number of delegates having already taken a final decision not to delist this type of crocodile from the top protection.
Delegates from Switzerland said that the number of Siamese freshwater crocodiles in their natural habitat is still low and should not be withdrawn from the top list.
Thailand now has over 200 crocodiles in the natural habitats nationwide. About 200,000 Siamese crocodiles and 20,000 saltwater crocodiles have been bred in the 800 commercial crocodile farms across the country.
The crocodile skin, meat and related products could make more than Bt 4 billion a year for farmers.
"We will ensure CITES that no Siamese freshwater crocodiles hunted in their natural habitat are sold for the commercial market. We also ask for a zero quota for the exported number of this kind of crocodile from its natural habitat," Wimol said.
"Third countries will also be invited to monitor our reintroduction programme," he added.
However, his proposal was not adopted by the majority of 138 delegates who attended the plenary meeting.