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On February 14, 2017, officials of customs, Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, and Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division (Royal Thai Police) were successful in seizing a large shipment of illegal pangolin scales. The scales were intentionally mislabeled as “Fish Maw” by their prestigious African-originated traffickers in an effort to mislead officials.

According to the documents, the shipment came in from the city of Lubumbashi, Congo on the Kenya Airlines, changing flights at Kenya’s capital of Nairobi and was heading towards Vientiane, Lao PDR. The shipment, however, was inspected and intercepted by Thai officials at Suvarnabhumi Airport as it was awaiting flight transfer to its destination.

The shipment, when inspected with x-ray equipment, was found to be pangolin scales in 22 containers, collectively weighing at 1,066 kg. Officials seized the found contrabands and arranged for transfer to the inquiry officials of Suvarnabhumi Airport Police Station for further legal procedures accordingly to the Customs Act, B.E. 2469 (1926) and the Wild Animals Reservation and Protection Act, B.E. 2535 (1992) (WARPA).

Currently, the seized pangolin contrabands are calculated to have a net worth of more than 40 million baht at the market price of their countries of destination such as Vietnam or China, where the asking price can range from 35,000 – 50,000 baht per kilograms.

Respectively, however, it was also calculated that 2,500 – 3,000 endangered pangolin lives was extinguished for this shipment.

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On the weekends of February 4 – 5, 2017 and February 11-12, 2017, Ladkrabang Wildlife Checkpoint, Bangkok Seaport Wildlife Checkpoint, and Administration Section, Division of Wild Flora and Fauna Protection (CITES Management Authority of Thailand) from Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation continued their combined efforts in hosting an exhibition and campaign in Chatuchak Market, Bangkok, Thailand to deter tourists from buying ivory and illegal wildlife trade in Thailand. This long-running campaign at Chatuchak Weekend Market has been in continuation since December of 2010. Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation intents to campaign for reduction in source and demands of illegal wildlife and ivory consumption.

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On February 10, 2017, Chong Chom Wildlife Checkpoint (Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation) continued enforcement efforts at the Chong Chom Joint Border Crossing Points, Surin Province (Thailand-Cambodia border). Between 8 – 10 February, 2017, the checkpoint collaborated with the 1st Ivory Inspection Unit of Protected Area Administration Office  9 (Ubon Ratchathani) in the inspection of 21 ivory shops around the area of Krapho Sub-district, Tha Tum District, Surin Province. No irregularities or violations of the laws were found during the inspection of the ivory dealers.

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On February 10, 2017, Officials of Hat Yai International Airport Wildlife Checkpoint and Songkhla Wildlife Checkpoint (Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation: DNP) came together to work with officers from Protected Area Administration Regional Office 6 (Songkhla) in collecting blood samples of domesticated elephants for DNA identification at Mueang District, Songkhla Province, southern Thailand. The blood collection was done on 3 elephants. Afterward, officials exchanged information with the local Phatthalung Province government police officials to exercise vigilance for illegal wildlife trafficking, especially pangolins. The operation as a whole was undertaken to strengthen and ensure continued cooperation between units.

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On February 2, 2016, Officers of Songkhla Wildlife Checkpoint (Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation) traveled to Phatthalung Province and operated alongside officers from the 6th division of Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division (Royal Thai Police), 7th Division of Highway Police (Khao Chaison Highway Police Public Service, Phatthalung Province),and 7th Division of Highway Police (Phatthalung Highway Police Public Service). The collective officials exchanged information and defined the boundaries of the checkpoint’s authority, where after the checkpoint asks for cooperation in inspecting and reporting in news related to trafficking. This encompasses pangolins and ivory trafficking, wherein the majority of violators will be using Asian roads as the main lifeline of the wildlife trafficking circles. In southern Thailand, this road is the 130 kilometers-long road located in Phatthalung Province. This cooperation was done in an effort to create an effective network and create a sustainable method in sharing information for future operations. The checkpoint received very favorable cooperation from the various units during the joint operation.

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