By Jens Wolters (Translated by Alexander Waalkes)
Although the hunt for Indian tigers since 1970 is legally forbidden the number of the touched large cats continued to reduce.
The Wildlife Protection Society of India “(WPSI) co-operates successfully with the Indian forest authorities and supports the numerous national game guardians, who risk their own life for the protection of the animals threatened by becoming extinct in the fight against hunters with most primitive means.
The pictures of the persons of the elevated social classes with elegantly decorated elephant caravans who rode through the jungle hunting the giant cats, are well-known to us from the British colonial age.
A Maharadscha set up a sad firing record approximately five decades ago with scarcely 1,200 hunted tigers
After the existence of the Indian tigers of over 40.000 animals had sunk under 2.000, the ban on hunting imposed by the government was introduced 35 years ago.
At that time perhaps the hunt of the animals was the center of attention. The joy in the hunt, the possession, and the proud presentation of the trophe were the highlites of the hunters.
Despite the ban on hunting, a mafia organization has continued to slotter these animals and even sell them to the highest bidders in foreign countries.
With profit margins of partially over 900 per cent it is hardly amazing that besides the desired animal skins also bones, organs, even whiskers – among other things are being sold. As the latter is knwon to increase the potence level.
While the hunter in India gets about $ 1,500 for a tiger skin, the dealer on the Chinese market obtains about $16,000 for the same piece
A high-quality tiger skin can even reach the price of several $10,000 on the black market.
„The Wildlife Protection Society of India “(WPSI), led under presidency of the several times distinguished animal fotographer Belinda Wight, continues to successfully fight the illegal hunt of Indian tigers.
The WPSI co-operates closely with the national forest authority, whose guardian works in national parks and protected areas.
Mostly on foot, without firearms, only armed with bamboo clubs, the guardians are on the search for traces of Indian tigers and the hunters who are armed with firearms. In case of any confrontation the guardians have obviously no chance of winning the fight.
The guardiens do not look for a confrontation but take advantage of the well-known proceeding of the often experienced hunters who always search in a certain area for the tigers. After they analyze a certain behaviour pattern of the tigers they lead them into an area where they have prepaired several traps.
Just like the tigers also the hunters leave during their illegal hunt and the preparations clear traces, which can be recognized by the thoroughly trained guardians.
A goal is to catch the criminals practically in the act before a tiger is badly hurt or even killed.
As an incentive for their lethal work as a guardian who are mainly men and few women they are recompensated with a salary of €100 in a month which is earned by a normal average Indien citizen in one year.
Each guardian is equipped with basic tools like the so called Smart Patrol Kit that contains a sleeping bag, a drinking bottle, food supply box, rechargeable flash light and one first aid kit that contains medication and dressing material. In remote areas the hunters have formed groups of 6 parties in numerous camps where additional medication is provided in stock and a water treatment plant with exchangeable filters for the vital water supply are available.
For the year 2007 in the city of Lower Saxony the non-profit animal protection donation Wolfgang Bösche expressed itself strongly for an intensified support of the efforts of the Wildlife Protection Society OF India.
The 42 years old donation founder and chairman Wolfgang Bösche as well as his executive committee colleagues appreciated the commitment of the Indian guardians. This is manifested in the unanimous vote for the protection of the still few from becoming extinct threatened Indian tiger
The executive committee gives great importance to know the purpose of their donations. They do not want it to flow into a general foundation fund. They want their donations to be used in a special project that is presently active and where the members are in need of financial support for special equipments… etc.
After the foundation has established a line of communication with the Indian animal guardians and extensivly researched the organizations, the foundation was convinced that those organizations will become successfull once they would be more supported.
Ms. Onkuri Majumdar, project chief with the WPSI, compiled a detailed plan for the donation and suggested to the German animal friends a particularly important project like the 4.785Km ² large South Seoni Forest division in the central Indian State of Madhya Pradesh
This area represents a kind of connecting passage for the tiger living in the two adjacent protected areas Pench tigers reserve and Kanha tiger reserve. Moreover, it is under control of the national forest authority and its guardians and is considered so far, however, unfortunately only as a kind of a landscape protection zone.
Nevertheless this range is perfect for tigers that have just become independent from their mothers as they can search there for an own district. There are only a few young tigers that are able to fight against older tigers for their new territory. As a consequence they are forced to find new places and guard them. Also the hunters try to successfully use this behaviour of the animals to their advantage. In these cases they use illegal traps that can only be found by patrols who search the areas on foot.
With the help of the Wolfgang Bösche Foundation fourty two animal protectors were able to be equipped with these so called Smart Patrol Kits.
Animal friends, who would like to support “The Wildlife Protection Society OF India “can gladly be informed under the Internet address www.wpsi-india.org directly about this organization or can contact the Animal Protection Foundation Wolfgang Bösche
D – 38102 Braunschweig
Telefon: 05 31 / 34 22 88
Bankleitzahl 200 300 00
IBAN DE94 2003 0000 0007 2007 77
SWIFT (BIC) HYVEDEMM300
Each game guardian is equipped with a basic equipment – “Smart Patrol Kit”, consisting of a sleeping bag, a drinking bottle, a food supply box, a rechargeable flashlight and a “first aid” package with dressing material as well as unites medicines – for the patrol courses in the jungle.Foto: © Nitin Desai / WPSI
In the context of training courses Indian game guardians of the national forest authority are cleared up over the practices of the poacher and trappers before its patrol courses in the jungle.Foto: © Nitin Desai / WPSI
About the Author:
Jens Wolters works honorary for the protection of animals for more than 25 years and is the initiator of the German homepage www.tierschutz-pressedienst.de . In the past he was the press spokesman of the largest society for the prevention of cruelty to animals in the German province Niedersachsen for more than 10 years and member of the German Press and Journalists Association (DPV e.V).