“They are not doing anything harmful. They are just moving through the landscape and getting killed.”
These are the words you’ll hear in this investigation released in Sri Lanka in the last few hours. Although the video mainly deals with the problem on the island it references some of the other issues in South Asia in general, these issues are especially relevant to India and Nepal.
Yesterday at the Leopard Refuge Station I had a brief encounter with the leopard there. Normally if I have to work there she stays hidden, that is how we have set up the station but yesterday we stared at each other for about 1 minute. I had replaced a platform for her the day before, it had collapsed in the floods, cameras showed she was happy to use it, she seemed calm which is why she maybe showed a little tolerance to my being there. I was captivated by her beauty even though of course I have seen her many times both live and in camera. It pains me that release is too risky for her and the safety of others but the plan for her makes sense, I want her to be an educational tool in so much as we connect her through technology to the kid’s program and beyond.
My overriding thought was the tragedy that humans are killing these magnificent animals in such disturbing numbers by targeting for trade, retaliation kills, collateral catch (snares set for bushmeat) and trophy hunting. Add all this to shrinking habitat and the leopard is up against yet as in the quote at the top of this post, it is an animal just going about its way and has doen its best to adapt to our intrusion.
As far as the targeting of leopards for illegal wildlife trade is concerned, this is why wildlife criminals such as Kunjoc Lama (previous posts) need to be behind bars, he alone has been linked to the deaths of 100s of big cats. This is why I am dedicated to seeing justice done, if we just continue to lock up low level poachers we will not reduce the carnage.
The treatment of wildlife is under scrutiny like never before, that in itself is a positive but will only remain so if there is a huge change of attitude and much more dedication and support for action…
Quick #AntiSnare update – Just another quick thing, there’s actually been a lot more messages than I expected about the Kunjok Lama case, that has surprised me a bit. To be honest, most people don’t want to talk about it so I’m really pleased there are those who are genuinely concerned. I know that being so open about something like this on a public forum is unusual because wildlife crime mafias are what they are. But there comes a time when we have to be more brazen and say enough is enough. I’m going to have more about this at my blogspot when #AntiSnare which has a bottom to top approach is updated at WildTiger because just locating snares is not enough, the whole illegal thread has to be disrupted, it’s the only way the carnage will be reduced. To reiterate, Kunjok Lama has petitioned the high court for release on bail and as has been made clear by events in the past the likelihood of him absconding is high if bail is granted. We will know more soon, the work continues and this upcoming period of time is crucial. There’s a whole backstory to this, that will be told when the time is appropriate. Once again, I thank those who genuinely care, we are a small team when it comes to that but that does not mean we are not powerful, we are…