CHIANGRAI TIMES – Two men who poached tigers in Thailand have received up to five years in prison, the most severe punishments for wildlife poaching ever given in the country.
After a lengthy trial the two poachers, arrested last July, were found guilty on Feb. 19, the U.S.-based Wildlife Conservation Society reported Wednesday.
One poacher, a Thai Hmong, was given a five-year sentence while the second, a Vietnamese citizen, was given a four-year sentence, it said.
The case was widely reported after a cell phone confiscated by authorities contained photos of a dead tiger whose striping pattern matched an animal being tracked by the society’s conservationists in Thailand’s Western Forest Complex.
Tiger stripes are unique to individual animals and serve as a visual “fingerprint,” and although the poachers alleged the tiger was shot in neighbouring Myanmar, the matched striping pattern proved otherwise.
Last December, WCS released incredible camera trap video footage of a rich gallery of wildlife from the forests of Thailand confirming that anti-poaching efforts in that country are paying off.
“The jail sentences show that Thailand is serious about stopping poaching of its wildlife,” Joe Walston, society executive director for Asia programs, said. “WCS commends the dedicated park guards and enforcement personnel who made this conviction a reality.”
Thailand serves as a training ground for guards from other Asian countries seeking to protect their own resources. WCS collaborates with the Thailand government in the training of enforcement staff from China, Nepal, India, Myanmar, Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
WCS work in Thailand is supported by the Multinational Species Conservation Funds of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of State, Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Save the Tiger Fund, Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, The Cattail Fund, and other private donors.
The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the Flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes toward nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth. Visit: www.wcs.org
Thailand serves as a training ground for park guards from other Asian countries seeking to protect their own resources, and the society collaborates with the Thai government in the training of enforcement staff from China, Nepal, India, Myanmar, Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Indonesia.