AUGUST 26 2015 07:28h

Thailand destroys two tons of illegal ivory

Thailand destroys two tons of illegal ivory

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Thailand destroyed 2.15 tons of confiscated elephant ivory on Wednesday, in a ceremony presided over by the prime minister.

The contraband was estimated to be worth about 2.8 million dollars, officials said.

"Elephants are our national symbol and are under threat from poaching and trade," Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said.

He called for the country to "clean up its act" on the illegal wildlife trade, and promised heavy punishment for those who violate the law.

"I will no longer tolerate corruption and ignorance on this matter." 

John Scanlon, secretary general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), praised the "clear progress" made by the Thai government.

"It is now critical that this greatly enhanced effort is sustained," he said.

CITES had threatened in March to impose an international wildlife trade ban on Thailand if it failed to crack down on illegal ivory.