There are some interesting things happening in the Koh Chang jungle this week as the island is host to the trainees of Thailand’s new Elite Wildlife Ranger Team. This is part of a collaborative effort between the Thai Department of National Parks in collaboration with the United States sponsored ARREST program administered by the Freeland organisation (www.freeland.org). Nobody does acronyms like the US of A and this one represents “Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking”, which means of course that it is a very worthwhile endeavour. Their press release which is well worth a read gives lots more information on the project but the extract below gives a quick summary.
“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.”
That this program is taking place is good for Thailand as a whole and the fact that a lot of it is happening on Koh Chang is promising from a local viewpoint. It is well known that plenty of IUU goes on on Koh Chang (that’s Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, remember?) and if the National Park staff are better trained, funded and supported in trying to limit it then that can’t be bad at all can it?
In other news there isn’t much other news. Since we’re into October already people are all eagerly preparing FARTS (For All Rain To Stop). The weather has cooled down and people are RATS (Realistically Awaiting Tourist Season). err This Is Thailand? Better sign off before the acronyms take over.