Support Jail Time for Man Caught Smuggling Tiger Cubs in Thailand

Target: Thailand police and justice force, Interpol’s executive director of police services Jean-Michel Louboutin

Goal: Urge Thailand to sentence animal smuggler to jail rather than fine him for his crimes.

A man was arrested recently for attempting to smuggle 16 tiger cubs out of Thailand near the border of Laos. Officials stopped his truck after the man avoided a police checkpoint and found the tiger cubs stuffed into eight small plastic crates. The BBC reports that the man told police he had been paid 15,000 baht (or $490) to transport the cubs out of Thailand. He faces either a four-year jail term or a fine of 40,000 baht ($1,300). Urge Thailand to sentence the smuggler to jail rather than fine him for his crimes.

Earlier this year during a two-day seminar hosted in Bangkok, Thailand by the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), crime chiefs from 13 nations with wild tiger populations agreed to tighten controls and improve cross-border cooperation in order to combat the tiger smuggling trade. John Scanlon, secretary general for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cities), said that the improved efforts to fight tiger crime “must not just result in seizures–they must result in prosecutions, convictions, and strong penalties to stop the flow of contraband.” While it is important to investigate who was paying the driver to transport these tiger cubs, the man should be prosecuted and jailed for his involvement in the smuggling of an endangered species.

There are fewer than 4,000 tigers left in the wild today. Only six subspecies remain with fewer than 1,000 tigers in each group. These subspecies are the Amur, Northern Indochinese, Malayan, Sumatran, Bengal, and South China. Three subspecies, the Bali, Javan, and the Caspian, are now classified as extinct. One of the main threats to the species is smuggling as some believe in the medicinal properties of the tiger and tiger parts. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that parts from a single tiger can be sold for up to $50,000 on the black market, making the poaching and smuggling of these animals very profitable for criminals.

As part of the enhanced efforts to fight tiger crime, we need to urge Thailand officials to deal with this case of smuggling by sentencing the man to jail, rather than having him pay a fine. In the face of such dire circumstances for the species, punishments need to be harsh in order to combat the allure of money paid to smuggle these animals. By signing this petition, you are applauding Thailand and the efforts of ICCWC and Cities in their increased efforts to fight tiger crime as well as encouraging them to send the smuggler to jail as his decision to accept payment for the smuggling of an endangered species makes him a criminal.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Jean-Michel Louboutin: Interpol’s executive director of police services,

We applaud the decision of Interpol, the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cities) in your increased efforts to combat tiger crime. As part of those efforts, these crime task forces promised not just to seize the endangered animals being smuggled, but also to prosecute and convict the criminals involved. We are calling on you now to prosecute and convict the man who was caught in Thailand attempting to smuggle 16 tiger cubs across the border near Laos.

We are urging you to send him to jail for four years rather than making him pay a fine for his crimes because we believe that such a harsh punishment is necessary in order to stop the illegal tiger trade. With payouts of up to $50,000 for tiger parts on the black market, a fine of $1,300 is not enough to deter these criminals from their involvement in poaching and smuggling. Perhaps jail time will. If this man is able to pay the fine, what is to stop him from returning to tiger smuggling, now with more information on how to avoid police in the future? Please prosecute and convict this criminal for his involvement in tiger smuggling.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: GollyGforce via Flickr

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