#WildlifeCrime – It’s 2018, there’s no excuse for being naive on the subject

Jack here, namaste.  There’ll be an update on our ground work soon but in the meantime thank you for reading this post which I’ve also put on my Facebook page if you wish to comment.

I’m referring specifically to Pragati‘s short comment at WildTiger 

(Quick comment on arrest of kingpin wildlife trader in Nepal )on another recent arrest but most importantly concern at another case, the light sentencing of Sanam Jagari, a tiger poacher and dealer. Pragati, in conjunction with relevant authorities as well as agencies we collaborate with, will have an update on the Jagari case soon. As I’ve mentioned in the last couple of days the silence from stakeholders has been deafening but we’re asking serious questions regarding this case. It certainly doesn’t have the profile of the Premchai case in Thailand or the sentencing yesterday of Bollywood star Salman Khan in India but is no less important. It begs belief that nations can spend hundred of thousands of dollars counting tigers and at the same time, after lengthy investigations barely slap a known wildlife dealer on the wrist with a fine of a few hundred dollars.

I was up past 2am last night working on leopard poaching and big cat body parts seizure data. I’ve got another long night tonight. We’re building strong partnerships to get the right information to the right places, this aids investigation, awareness and change. Last night on a side screen while I was working, I was following updated media reports on the Khan case (just google Salman Khan if you’re unsure what I mean by this) and I couldn’t help but feel that in our celebrity obsessed, increasingly narcissistic selfie taking society that Khan’s sentencing is perhaps sending a strong message. But then as I wade through data, leopard skin, claw and skull images cluttering my desk, I couldn’t help but feel there’s no excuse, in 2018, for people not to be aware of the massive problem that is wildlife crime.
Sometimes, in all the campaigning and awareness sharing there seems to be blurred lines between activism and conservation, and as someone involved in leopard rehabilitation where some very hard decisions have to be made, because nature can be seemingly brutal and we have to simulate that, well I feel there is a lack of congruence within those blurred lines. But for everyone fighting on the ground for wildlife and animal protection the goals are clear. It’s just that above the ground, within society and sadly even within the conservation sector itself (read personal agendas), there is still a mass naivety as to the consequences of wildlife crime which is essentially the destruction of ecosystems.
Call it naivety, call it ignorance or call it a lack of care, it’s a hell of a problem. And the penalizing of a tiger poacher, now free after a short incarceration, of a few hundred dollars, points very strongly to that problem… and the lack of concern about it. I don’t think there’s an excuse for it in 2018, this is just an example, we’ll be bringing more.
There are people working long hours to rectify these things but we need the public to wake up and understand.