Environmental protections officials have stated that poachers have been killing elephants in Thailand’s national parks for the purpose of wildlife trafficking. The poachers kill the elephants mainly for their ivory tusks, which can be sold for $1,500 per kilogram on the black market as of February 2012. In addition to the tusks, the elephant’s meat and genitals are sold to smugglers as exotic foods and for use in traditional medicine across Asia.
Not all elephants that are seen by poachers are killed. In addition to the body parts, elephants that are alive are a profitable product for the traffickers. According to wildlife officials, baby elephants are a lucrative item to sell on the black market due to its high demand. Traffickers are able to sell a baby elephant for up to $7,000 to customers who want to use the elephant in Thailand’s bustling tourism industry. In order to get the baby elephant, poachers and traffickers must first kill the adult elephant that is protecting the baby.
Source: Daniel Schearf, “Thai Wildlife Group Raided for Criticizing Elephant Poaching,” Voice of America, February 22, 2012.