Government hopes to track elephant population through mandatory DNA samples

The Environmental Ministry wants to invoke mandatory DNA samples of all elephants living in camps in hopes of tracking the captive population and lessening illegal trade of elephants.

They are planning to approach Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha about employing Section 44 of the charter to make it happen.

Kasemsun Chinnavaso, Environmental Ministry Permanent Secretary, noted that the country aims to protect the 3,500 elephants that are currently living in camps and other forms of captivity. Through this effort they hope to, not only, protect the animals but also repair the country’s tarnished reputation as a hub for illegal wildlife trafficking.

Breeding elephants in captivity isn’t illegal but, if the government has records to the birth’s and DNA samples, it will be harder for the baby elephants to ever be lost, stolen, or sold illegally, reported Bangkok Post.

Kasemsun noted that the elephant camp owners aren’t likely to volunteer the DNA samples. He believes that Section 44 is necessary to make private elephant camps cooperate.

These samples of DNA will prove, without a doubt, whether any specific elephant was born in a camp or was trafficked there.

They expect Prayuth to agree and for the Section 44 powers to be invoked in October. The project will cost THB4 million.

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