Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) launched an elite environmental enforcement unit this week that is currently undergoing specialized training to tackle wildlife poachers and traffickers nationwide. The special unit, called "King Tigers", was developed and is being trained by DNP in collaboration with the United States-sponsored "ARREST" Program.
The new special unit is authorised to investigate and suppress nature crimes throughout Thailand's forests and waterways.
Unit members were hand-selected after undergoing intense mental and physical endurance tests. The unit is now undergoing specialized training for 8 weeks in remote jungle and marine habitats by instructors from Thailand and the ARREST Program, which is coordinated by Freeland and sponsored by the United States Government.
This training program, called "PROTECT", will fill a significant void in the response capacity of Thai enforcement personnel to address immediate threats to its outstanding natural heritage and interdict wildlife trafficking.
Wildlife crime in both Thailand’s terrestrial and marine areas, such as Siamese rosewood poaching and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing can quickly overwhelm enforcement personnel in protected areas limited in both numbers and training.
Facing increasingly violent criminals, 40 rangers have lost their lives and 49 have been injured, including 23 seriously injured, in the line of duty in Thailand’s protected areas in the past four years alone.
Thailand is one of the most biologically diverse countries in Southeast Asia with approximately eight to ten percent of the world’s plant and animal species. More....