There was a time in India when Emperors surrounded by their noblemen would mount the back of an elephant and venture into the jungles to kill a beast. The time of these erstwhile trigger friendly maharajas may well have gone, but the hunt for animals is still on and has taken an uglier shape than ever. It is not royalties anymore but commoners who kill for profit. Wildlife crime is today is a profitable business and the biggest threat to animals and the survival of the planet itself.
Slender Lorises are the little known primates found in the southern states of India, especially in the Western Ghats and Karnataka. Till date very little is known about these nocturnal creatures, their habits or even their population. But now experts fear the species is under threat from poachers who are killing them in hundreds.
In an altogether different kind of offensive, an intense counter poaching operations training is being undertaken by around 50 park rangers of Asia including India in an effort to save and provide security to Asia’s forest reserves. Named ARREST (Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking), the program is aimed at equipping forest rangers with improved patrolling techniques and law enforcement. The two week long training course, is being funded by the US Government.
This time it is poaching of a different kind and a threat of a different magnitude. Live, endangered Indian animals like turtles, tortoises, gharials and even bear and leopard cubs, are being trafficked by air, stuffed in suitcases, to Bangkok, to be sold as pet animals. These unfortunate animals are traded at chatuchak market area in Bangkok and the Suvarnabhumi air port is being used as transit point for this illegal activity.