Cracking Down on Illegal Ivory Could Get Easier in Thailand
A new scanner could help Thai law enforcement tell right away whether an object for sale is sourced illegally.
It has long been illegal to trade internationally in ivory from Asian elephants. Only about 43,000 are left in the wild, and they face threats from habitat loss and conflicts with people.
Another 13,000 or so are domesticated, helping move heavy objects or carry people. In Thailand, it’s legal to buy and sell ivory from domesticated elephants that live in the country.
That little loophole has created a big problem: It gives sellers the opportunity to pass off illegal ivory as above-board because, absent DNA analysis, there’s no sure way to tell the difference. As a result, Thailand’s ivory market has been flooded with illegal African elephant ivory.
That could change very soon. A new scanner developed by a