Thailand fails to get crocodile species downgraded
Thailand has failed to get major support from members of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to downgrade the protection for Siamese and saltwater crocodiles.
These two crocodiles are included in the list of 600 species threatened with extinction and international trade in these species or their parts is prohibited under CITES Appendix I.
However, the Fisheries Department called on the 129 nations present at the meeting to back Thailand to downgrade these two crocodile species from Appendix I to Appendix II so the Kingdom can continue exporting crocodile parts and products. This meeting was part of the 16th CITES summit being held in Bangkok from March 3-14.
Thailand is believed to have more than 200 crocodiles in the wild nationwide, while some 200,000 Siamese and 20,000 saltwater crocodiles are being bred in the 800 commercial crocodile farms across the country. Crocodile skin, meat and related products can earn the country more than Bt4 billion a year.
For the proposal related to protection of Siamese crocodiles, 69 of the countries present said yes, 49 were against it and 11 abstained, while 61 voted for lifting protection on saltwater crocodiles, 54 were against it, six abstained and the rest chose not to vote. However, the proposals could not go through because they did not get the two-thirds majority as required under CITES regulations.
"Countries who are against the proposal believe Thailand has too few crocodiles in the wild," Fisheries Department's director-general Wimol Jantrarotai said.