A conservation champion in the making, thank you Babu for your total dedication

Namaste, Jack here.  I’ve had a few people message me saying they want to read my blog but not at Facebook (fully understand many people don’t like to use Facebook) where I do have some posts that are not here.  We’re streamlining our online platforms including here at wildleopard.net as well as at wildtiger.org, hopefully this will be finished soon.  Many thanks to those who care about these issues and take the time to read these blogs and updates.  You can contact me directly at jk@wildtiger.org

TRULY WALKING THE WALK, A PASSION FOR HIS TASK, CARE ABOUT HIS COMMUNITY… As we update our online platforms, this guy will get a strong mention. Nirajan Chhetri (Babu) in an age where so many talk the talk, he truly walks the walk. Over the last year and a half it’s been a great pleasure to work with Babu, watch him learn, see him grow. Above all it is his dedication to the task which is something I can really rely on. He has been a tremendous aid in leopard rehabilitation work and I’m really confident in his ability now to understand how to keep communities understanding and safe when there are leopards in the area. We’ve supplied a motorcycle and camera trap equipment among other gear plus Babu has been a pleasure to deal with in hours of training and implementation often in testing and sometimes dangerous situations. He truly listens to every word, which in this day and age is a minor miracle. Many thanks to our gear guru and collaborator, Bernd Hirthe, for supplying Babu with a laptop. There’s a long way to go with this, much more to be developed, learnt, a lot of hard work ahead but this is progress. It does however require people with the right stuff (one hotspot at a time) and this guy has that in spades. Thank you Babu, keep going, we will win…

Quick follow up as leopard killing case gains media attention

The case that I was referring to in my post yesterday is now starting to gain media attention. I’ve mentioned before how the trophy hunting of leopards is a mechanism which drives illegal trade through the creation of “commodities” or items of value. This is becoming an ever present element in our fight to protect the leopard. Yet we have entities such as WWF, some members of the British Royal family and the US Government, to name a few, which give carefully worded endorsements of trophy hunting.  There’s link to a media article below.

Willits man who killed endangered leopard pleads guilty

International guidelines for protected species have to adhered to by all nations (but aren’t) for wildlife to have a chance

Namaste, Jack here.  I’ve had a few people message me saying they want to read my blog but not at Facebook (fully understand many people don’t like to use Facebook) where I do have some posts that are not here.  We’re streamlining our online platforms including here at wildleopard.net as well as at wildtiger.org, hopefully this will be finished soon.  Many thanks to those who care about these issues and take the time to read these blogs and updates.  You can contact me directly at jk@wildtiger.org

Just under 3 years ago my birth country, New Zealand, legally recognized animals as sentient beings, in that many species express “human like” emotions. The bill was introduced partly to enable more streamlined enforceability of animal welfare laws. Soon I’ll tie in how a colleague reasons some wildlife species especially big cats but specifically apex predators maintain a degree of intelligence far beyond others and this cognitive thought process ties in with sentience as well as their ecological role.
A case I’m following very closely at the moment, and I’m in communication with the prosecutors, involves a U.S. citizen falsifying records after killing a leopard in South Africa so he could import the cat’s skull and skin into the U.S. The man has pleaded guilty and the sentencing hearing begins on 25 June. Leopards are listed as a protected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The three countries involved in this particular case, the U.S., South Africa and Mozambique (used as a transit) are all signatories to the treaty. Trophy hunting of leopards in South Africa has been suspended due to concerns of plummeting population. Mozambique still issues trophy hunting licenses. The leopard is also a listed as endangered and protected under U.S. domestic law but leopard body parts (trophies) are still imported under legal framework.
In India the leopard is a protected species but there is disparity of sentencing across different states. In Nepal the leopard is not on the protected species list, those of you who follow these pages know we are working on that issue.
These two paragraphs give very briefly a hint of the inconsistencies involved for just one species, albeit a highly important one ecologically. Across our various online platforms we’ve been bringing recent news of three cases, the Premchai case in Thailand (a high profile businessman shot and ate a black leopard, as well as other wildlife), the Salman Khan case in India (just use google to see the chaos) and the Jagari case (tiger poacher) here in Nepal which Pragati will be updating on soon. There are of course thousands of cases before courts globally.
CITES is claiming they are making solid progress and in some ways I agree. However until there is greater adherence to international guidelines, those on the front lines in the battle against wildlife crime are really up against it. Stiffer and internationally CONSISTENT penalties for all involved in the wildlife trafficking thread (poachers, traders, kingpins and buyers) from ALL nations is ultimately the answer to this environmental crime which unfortunately. like climate change, is suffering from delayed reaction by the general public.
The sentencing on June 25 of the man who illegally killed and imported a leopard into the U.S. is another test piece. The upper limit fine is 250,000 dollars. Let’s see how close it gets to that…

#WildlifeCrime – OUR SYSTEM IS FLAWED… How do we know it’s flawed? Because poachers, traders and buyers are acting with impunity.

Namaste, Jack here.  I’ve had a few people message me saying they want to read my blog but not at Facebook (fully understand many people don’t like to use Facebook) where I do have some posts that are not here.  We’re streamlining our online platforms including here at wildleopard.net as well as at wildtiger.org, hopefully this will be finished soon.  Many thanks to those who care about these issues and take the time to read these blogs and updates.  You can contact me directly at jk@wildtiger.org

Environmental crime is an illegal act which directly harms the environment.

#WildlifeCrime – OUR SYSTEM IS FLAWED… How do we know it’s flawed? Because poachers, traders and buyers are acting with impunity.
A Dutch court has just handled out a sentence of one year in jail to a man caught in possession of five rhino horns and four other horn objects. The man was caught by customs officials at Schiphol airport in December as he traveled through Amsterdam on his way from South Africa to the Chinese city of Shanghai. (From THE GUARDIAN: https://www.theguardian.com/…/chinese-man-caught-smuggling-… – I’m currently trying to get more information on the sentencing). Those of you who follow this page will know of the Jagari case here in Nepal, Pragati will have a follow up soon, there’s first up comment at wildtiger.org
Rhinos are keystone species, just like tigers, leopards and elephants. Globally our judicial systems are not recognizing the seriousness of taking keystone species out of ecosystems. My argument is that environmental science is not being applied to the overall process, perhaps we have now got to the stage where we have too many people involved combating wildlife crime just not fully understanding what they are dealing with. A one year sentence for smuggling rhino horns is a slap on the wrist as is the fine of few hundred dollars in the Jagari case.
Environmental crime affects us all and the mistakes we are making now are going to play havoc with future generations. Yes, perhaps I have seen too many dead animals but I’m witnessing forests emptying. If we don’t get tough now on ALL components of the wildlife crime thread including traders, couriers, buyers etc, this loss will continue.
My own feeling is that the Dutch Court should have had the capacity to hand down five years. Dreams are free but we need an international standard/guideline. More on these issues and the Jagari case soon.

#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.