Saturday, 2 July 2011
Suspects arrested for killing three tigers
One suspect, Nai sae Tao, a Hmong hilltribe man, was picked up by officials at his hut in a paddy field in Tak's Umphang district on Monday.
The other man, Hoang Van Hien, 42, was arrested at a resort in the same district the following day.
The two are believed to be among five poachers who entered a forest area bordering Huai Kha Kaeng and Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuaries to hunt for tigers, killing a female tiger and its two cubs using poison.
Officials seized a camera from the Hmong suspect containing a picture of him sitting on the back of a dead tiger.
Saksit Simcharoen, chief of the Wildlife Conservation Office in Nakhon Sawan, said he was confident the dead tiger had lived in the sanctuaries as officials had seen it when it was alive.
There are close to 100 tigers in Huai Kha Khaeng and Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife sanctuaries.
"It was not a tiger from Burma as initially claimed by the suspect. We can identify the tiger from the pattern on its face, which is the same as the tiger we saw in October last year," he said.
The animal seen in the suspect's photo was apparently poisoned, the same method used to kill the three tigers in March, said Mr Saksit.
There was evidence showing that the poachers always used the same route to hunt for tigers.
Soontorn Chaiwatana, of the Wildlife Conservation Office, said that a patrol had clashed with the poacher gang in the forest on Saturday before the arrest of the two suspects.
The gang members managed to escape, leaving behind a boar, some eaglewood and weapons. Information from local villagers near the sanctuary led to the arrest of the two suspects.
The two later allegedly confessed they had sold the carcasses for 300,000 baht, but refused to identify the buyer.
"We believe that it is part of an international network.
"Vietnamese come here through Laos, and it might be possible that the tiger and other wildlife products were transferred to Laos," Mr Soontorn added.