More than 3,440 domesticated elephants – or almost 99 percent of the animals’ total documented population in the Thailand – have been registered for DNA checks to verify their identifies and origins.
The move is a renewed effort to recheck the country’s elephant population following the issuance of an order under Article 44 of the interim constitution last September, said Parks Department chief Thanya Netithammakul on Thursday.
The article, issued under the sweeping power afforded National Council for Peace and Order chief Prayut Chan-o-cha, requires concerned agencies to register the elephants for a fresh round of DNA checks, which would then be certified along with the animals’ identification documents.
Under the order, they must finish the work by March. It project aims to help close a loophole involving the illegal smuggling of wild elephants and those incorrectly registered as domesticated elephants. The problem is rampant and severely affects the country’s wildlife conservation efforts.
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