DiCaprio ask Yingluck Shinawatra to ban ivory trade

Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio has appealed to Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to ban ivory trade which will be a big step towards halting all elephant poaching in the country, considered as the world's biggest unregulated ivory market.

Supporting World Wildlife Fund (WWF) "Hands Off My Parts" campaign, the 38-year-old demanded Thai government to ban all ivory trade in the kingdom, ahead of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to be held here in March 3-14.

"Whole populations are at risk of being wiped out if we don't take immediate action to shut down this illicit trade.

As a key step, I am joining WWF and others, calling on Thailand's government to show leadership on elephant conservation by shutting down its ivory market before the country hosts a meeting of 177 nations on wildlife trade in March 2013," Bangkok Post quoted him as telling a German daily.

"Illegal wildlife trade is the most urgent threat facing species like tigers, rhinos and elephants. These animals are being killed every day to feed an escalating demand for their body parts," DiCaprio said.

Thai law forbids trade in ivory from African elephants.

"Exploiting a legal loophole that permits the sale of ivory from Thailand's domesticated elephants, criminals are getting away with selling massive amounts of illegally poached African ivory alongside legal ivory in the country," WWF said in a statement.

'The Hands Off My Parts' campaign aims to bring awareness to the killings of rhinos, tigers and elephants that are being killed for their skins, bones, tusks, horns and other body parts.

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