Wildlife

Tiger Poachers Get Stiff Sentences

Two men received substantial prison sentences after being convicting of poaching in Thailand earlier this year.

One convicted tiger poacher, a Vietnamese citizen, received four years in prison; the other,  a Thai national, received five—the most severe punishment for wildlife poaching ever given in Thailand.

The men had been convicted in Thai court on February 19. They were arrested last July, after officials said they were fleeing patrols in a protected area. Police said their belongings contained illegal animal parts as well as snares, firearms, and other equipment commonly used by poachers.

Park rangers surround the two convicted poachers (pointing) with the initial seize of wildlife parts, weapons, and other equipment. Photo courtesy of the WCS Thailand Foundation.

 

But the critical piece of evidence was a cell phone containing photos of the two men posing by a dead tiger. The men claimed the tiger was shot in an unprotected area in Myanmar, but later court analysis showed that the stripe pattern was identical to that of an animal being tracked by Wildlife Conservation Society personnel in Thailand’s Western Forest Complex.

A cell phone image of one of the poachers posing with the dead tiger that led to their conviction. Photo courtesy of the WCS Thailand Program.

 

Tiger stripes form unique patterns and—like human fingerprints and whale flukes—can be used to identify individuals.

 

The tiger from the cell phone images was identified as the same tiger captured by a camera trap image by WCS the year before, adding to the evidence against the poachers.

 

Tigers are threatened by habitat loss and by hunting; the population of tigers in the wild has declined from an estimated 100,000 in 1920 to under 3,500 today. (Approximately 250 of those live in Thailand.)

Logging, development, and the decline of their traditional prey have reduced their range to scattered pockets across South and East Asia; today they occupy less than 10% of their former range. Hunters target them for pelts, bones, and other body parts, many of which are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Although the trade is banned in most countries and by international law, a black market trade fueled by poachers remains.

More About Tigers from Nat Geo News Watch:

Tiger Parts Seized in Raid on Malaysia Restaurant

Can 2,000 Tigers Find Sanctuary in Thailand? 

Rare Tigers Raised in Africa to be “Rewilded” in China

Can a Thousand Breeding Females Stave Off Tiger Extinction in the Wild?

Last Stand for Wild Tigers?


  • […] 2. Tiger Poachers Get Stiff Sentences […]

  • David Kaisler

    Seriously? Those little weasels got only 4 and 5 year sentences for the life of a tiger? They both should have been hung by the neck.

  • Carol June Wallen

    This came to me on Facebook and I opened this to see the whole story. Poachers whether tiger or elephant or any animal need to be live sentences working with animals for free during the day and in prison at night. Perhaps that will deter a few of this caliber of humanity from taking the life of a precious animal. This just breaks my heart.

  • ludo merckx

    stop the killings and bisnesses!

  • […] Photo: Taken from http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/03/09/tiger-poachers-receive-sentences/ […]

  • george

    Those f….ken bastards should die. Why spare them just kill um who cares about them anyway.

  • Jpratschner

    I agree, they are a waste of human life. I’m ashamed to be the same species as them!

  • Jin lor

    Stop the Killing!

  • sanjit banerjee

    the poachers should be thrown in front of a live big cat as a punishment.

  • Linda

    I just can’t comprehend how anyone can destroy a such magnificent beasts like this, and I say that of ALL animals! Who does humankind think it is by deciding what should live and what should die? I agree with what jpratschner has said. I also, am thoroughly ashamed of my own species!

  • NELLY

    i love pictures of animals and in deed is pictures here are nice

  • debbie herbert

    KILLING TIGERS IS WRONG!!! IM GLAD THOSE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN CAUGHT!!!! THEY SHOULD BE SENTENCED TO THE ELECTRIC CHAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • mitul desai

    There so many individual persons like me who want to participate in Tiger conservation,So department must give them opportunity to work with them.India is also one of them,I also work for wildlife and collect data ,I need to work with action…

  • Carl

    This is one of the most pathetic examples of humans beings I’ve ever had the displeasure or seeing. Tigers are in the worst shape in history and people continue to kill these defenseless creatures to fuel one of the saddest examples of a “business” to ever exist. I understand that cows and live stock feel pain, but they’re not defiled like what these people have done to the tiger. They murdered it and posed on top of it to show their “masculinity” which proves they have a sour and pathetic ego. The tiger was unjustly humiliated and my condolences for this tiger and all others that have suffered its pain.

  • Rohan

    These people will continue to engage in killing of these beautiful creatures as long as there is a demand for their skins and bones! Eliminate the market!! Problem will be solved.

  • Dave

    they should make a team of people that hunts and kill poachers. should invest on that team.

  • Brian Aspinall

    Eye for an eye in my book! Poachers should be shot.

  • awais

    thees r beatyful things u tack a life ever time u want tiger skin bones and thooth

  • JoshuaAsel

    Hey Dave! They do have them in Africa but I forget which parts. Its in the documentary called “Gorrilla Wars” by NatGeo.

  • Nick Porter

    Disturbing that 4-5 years’ sentence is the harshest ever delivered for poaching in Thailand (and with that kind of evidence, it couldn’t be one iota less than the harshest possible). These are people who don’t make a legal, reputation-based living, such a moderate punishment isn’t going to deter them. ***At all.***

    Conservationist groups need to be lobbying for stricter punishment.

  • fdsfg

    How about a life sentence ? Its more appropriate.

  • […] Geographic reported that a picture and location identification sealed the conviction for tiger poachers in Thailand last year. They poachers claimed the shooting took place in "an unprotected area in Myanmar," but […]

  • Pirust

    What a coward! Go and kill the tiger bare handed you f*cking dull creature! It’s easy to kill with a gun. I wish that tiger would have brought to life again and tear your face off! I hate these kind of people, who only just minutes before posing they were pissing their pants from fear. And after the shot they pose as bitches as they are proud. I’m disgusted.

  • anthony

    bengal tigers should not be hunted, and they should be punished more!

  • Victor Leitao

    It makes me sad to see these beautiful creatures killed because of man’s greed. I can sit for hours and watch these magnificent animals, If these tigers are shot just for the pleasure of one’s stupidity, I can honestly say that these beautiful creatures will be lost forever. When poachers are caught, they should be hung in a public square, so that it will deter others from doing the same thing.

  • Carol Crunkhorn

    And the end user? Those who create the demand for tiger parts are as guilty, if not more so. I make no excuses for poachers, but feel compelled to mention trophy hunters who pay to murder wild animals for no other reason than the thrill of the hunt and the ‘trophy’ to take home (to show what assholes they are). These wealthy murderers are breaking no laws and the wild creatures they seek are always the best of the species. Heads up to Thailand for giving these poachers what they deserve, but who punishes the trophy hunters? It should be illegal.
    http://bit.ly/12JGFEU
    http://bit.ly/17jHeGr

  • gabe

    KILL THE POACHERS HANG THEM BURN THEM SHOOT THEM AND WAY IS OK WITH ME EVEN OLD SPARKY

  • gabe

    ok i said what i wanted to say im happy now wait they are still killing DEATH TO POACHERS

  • terry clark

    yesterday,a picture got posted to facebook , abouth a tigercub who was tortured its teeth where taken out and the claws,it was put onto a table bined down by a chain over the neck,and used for kiddies to sit on it.
    i have read in thailand someone get imprisoned for killing a tiger!
    CAN ANY ONE PLEASE HELP TO STOP THIS SENSELESS TORTURE AND KILLING IN CHINA,IF ITS NOT THE DOGS WHO WHERE SKINNED ALIVE AND EATEN THAN ITS THE CATS, AND NOW ITS THE TIGER,WHAT NEXT .PLZ ANY ONE OUT THERE PLZ HELP!!!!!!!.
    I ONLY CAN WRITE AND WRITE TO WHOEVER I CAN THINK OF TO STOP THAT SENSELESS KILLINGS. THERE MUST BE SOME ONE WHO CAN DO STOP THAT. THOSE PEOPLES ARE NOT HUMAN AND THE GOVERMENT DOES DO NOTHING ABOUTH IT.

  • PATEL PINAK KUMAR SURESH BHAI

    PLEASE save the bengal tiger

  • PATEL PINAK KUMAR SURESH BHAI

    plase save the bengle tiger

  • Crystal

    Wow they are so mean I luv tigers!!!

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