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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?


Comments

  1. Crystal
    Miami,Florida
    February 20, 1:27 pm

    Wow they are so mean I luv tigers!!!

  2. PATEL PINAK KUMAR SURESH BHAI
    india
    July 12, 2013, 4:42 am

    plase save the bengle tiger

  3. PATEL PINAK KUMAR SURESH BHAI
    CHANASMA IN GUJRAT
    July 12, 2013, 4:40 am

    PLEASE save the bengal tiger

  4. terry clark
    united kingdom
    May 2, 2013, 7:17 am

    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.

  5. gabe
    texas
    May 1, 2013, 2:57 pm

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

  6. gabe
    texas
    May 1, 2013, 2:57 pm

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

  7. Carol Crunkhorn
    New Zealand
    April 25, 2013, 3:21 am

    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

  8. Victor Leitao
    Perth Australia.
    April 20, 2013, 9:20 am

    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.

  9. anthony
    U.S.A
    March 12, 2013, 3:29 pm

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

  10. Pirust
    Pristina
    February 26, 2013, 9:06 am

    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.

  11. [...] 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 [...]

  12. fdsfg
    February 25, 2013, 8:34 am

    How about a life sentence ? Its more appropriate.

  13. Nick Porter
    February 3, 2013, 1:25 pm

    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.

  14. JoshuaAsel
    January 28, 2013, 12:56 am

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

  15. Alan Braganza
    CANADA
    January 21, 2013, 11:23 am

    Poaching is an extreme crime very much in need of eradication. One of the greatest tragedies is that of the misconception or incorrect belief that using tiger organs will prevent or cure human diseases. Sometimes even the most developed medicines are ineffective and not without bad side effects. The harvesting of animals for parts must stop and for it to stop, there must be a radical change in the thinking of the people who buy the tiger products and those who make them. The lifestyles and genes of the people will always give them diseases and the human lifespan is not meant to be forever as there is a human overpopulation.

    Natural and whole foods are the best together with good clean living and holistic consumption of foods to address ailments. The skins/furs are really not for wearing by humans or for displaying as trophies because apart from representing murder and carnage, there are superior man-made fabrics and trophies. Animal skins are a reminder of what was once living and what was killed with a selfish and careless brutality. It is wonderful and life affirming to watch these large cats in their natural environments living freely among themselves and nature.
    When a tiger is killed by poachers, it dies a horrible and painfully gruesome death to never propagate itself and another chance is lost to stop its extinction which is permanent. Poaching is an extreme crime and all young and old compassionate people must do their part to permanently stop it.

    All humans with a sense of compassion, justice, regard and respect for such a magnificent creature such as the tiger must communicate with authorities to conserve these tiger populations where they can be away from humans and most importantly, the world must permanently stop the poachers and erradicate the illegal brutal trade in animal parts because it is very wrong and careless. Eventually the poaching will kill off all animals and then all humans will be detrimentally affected because of the imbalance in nature allowing new diseases to perpetuate. Poaching has affected the world economy and future in a most negative way and every solution to discourage it must be used including posting photos, locations and names of poachers to global authorities as well as teaching the local populations the crucial need to protect their wild animals into fenced boundaries away from human villages.

  16. awais
    auckland nz
    January 5, 2013, 5:28 am

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

  17. Brian Aspinall
    PA
    December 28, 2012, 8:21 pm

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

  18. Dave
    australia sydney
    December 5, 2012, 12:02 pm

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

  19. Rohan
    Sri Lanka
    December 3, 2012, 3:17 am

    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.

  20. Carl
    Canada
    October 4, 2012, 9:21 pm

    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.

  21. mitul desai
    India
    July 29, 2012, 12:49 pm

    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…

  22. debbie herbert
    chesterfield
    July 17, 2012, 9:56 am

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

  23. NELLY
    ACCRA GHANA
    July 6, 2012, 12:19 am

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

  24. Linda
    Victoria, Australia
    June 22, 2012, 2:28 pm

    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!

  25. sanjit banerjee
    india
    June 19, 2012, 9:47 am

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

  26. Jin lor
    June 14, 2012, 11:14 am

    Stop the Killing!

  27. Jpratschner
    Canada
    May 25, 2012, 11:55 pm

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

  28. george
    Los Angeles
    May 10, 2012, 2:06 am

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

  29. Why? « ungulate7
    April 4, 2012, 7:24 am

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

  30. ludo merckx
    belguim
    March 15, 2012, 9:15 pm

    stop the killings and bisnesses!

  31. Carol June Wallen
    Freeport, NY USA
    March 12, 2012, 4:21 pm

    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.

  32. David Kaisler
    Chesapeake, Va. USA
    March 10, 2012, 11:19 pm

    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.

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    March 10, 2012, 12:03 am

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