The Pioneer : 2020-09-25

Front Page : 10 : 10

Front Page

. . * 2 3 T he illegal tiger trade is threatenin­g the survival of one of nature’s most beautiful beasts. Exposing the shocking secrets of illegal tiger farms and the power players who profit, former Royal Marine Commando Aldo Kane uncovers key traffickin­g routes connecting Malaysia, China, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, covertly filming the trafficker­s, and meeting those trying to conserve tigers. He calls the series, Tigers: Hunting the Trafficker­s, a gripping, fearless and an action-packed investigat­ion into the sickening network of ruthless, organised wildlife crime. It’s also a crusading film, with enough clout to ignite a campaign for real change, before a majestic species is wiped out completely. Excerpts: 4 $ 2 $ ! ') ')' # 8 ) * ')$ )!: - % ! ! % ! 1 , < 1 % % "1 6 the Counter Tiger Poaching units in the Taman Negara National Park, Malaysia. We spent weeks in the jungle tracking down tiger poachers. They have dedicated their lives to the protection of the few wild tigers left in Malaysia. It’s frustratin­g that their efforts are being completely undermined by the industrial scale poaching taking place in their own backyard. The wild tigers are being trafficked North into Vietnam and China where a premium is fetched as the dead or butchered ones are worth more than those alive and wild. It was truly great to spend time with these dedicated and loyal teams, learning how they operate and what their biggest challenges were. This gave me the background knowledge and drive to find out more about the illegal trade. For me, the most shocking scenes revealed how large some tiger facilities were. I also visited some places where hundreds of tigers were locked up in cages. The tiger trade is hidden from sight, unlike the ivory or rhino trade where the brutality is on show for the world to see. The world is largely unaware of the brutal way in which they are farmed and ultimately slaughtere­d for their bones. Breaking into these facilities to expose the cruelty these tigers are exposed to is a vital part of bringing the truth to the wider world. What is the film about? We look at how the growth in illegal tiger farms throughout Southeast Asia and China is stimulatin­g a demand for tiger products like tiger bone, wine and glue. Tiger traffickin­g is now big business and this rise in demand is having a devastatin­g effect on the world’s wild tiger population as a premium is now paid for its wild provenance. This film investigat­es the murky underworld of the illegal tiger farms feeding this demand. It is about the complex issues that surround the trade and tries to raise awareness of the immediate threat to these endangered animals. I, alongside a team of investigat­ors, try to expose and piece together the shocking secrets of the illegal tiger farms and those who profit. Numbers of wild tigers in much of Southeast Asia are declining and wild tigers risk getting extinct if this illegal trade continues and is left unchecked. ! " # $ &/! < - % 1 1 ! $ 1 % ! %' 2+)# nearly all across Southeast Asia — from Malaysia right up through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and further into China. Due to the nature of the trade in these countries, traffickin­g can also be linked to other illegal activities such as drug smuggling, illegal logging and human traffickin­g. So the level of risk and danger is quite high. But the biggest challenge and risk was to the investigat­ors we worked alongside because in some of these countries they could risk their lives for exposing these illegal trade operations. For me, the biggest challenge was feeling quite helpless at the industrial scale of the trade. 5 $ - +& 2)# / 2 ! 1 .4' ) ) 5 ) & & & 5 # 0 * 6 What attracted you to this project? Since I first joined the Royal Marines at the age of 16, I have spent many years travelling the globe and a huge amount of time in the jungles of Southeast Asia. I still remember the exhilarati­ng feeling of sharing the dense forests with the wild tiger — for me, the most majestic Apex predator. Since then, I have been fascinated by these beautiful creatures and acutely aware of their plight as an endangered species. A few years ago, I was talking with director Orlando Von Einsiedel from Grain Media about such risky stories which needed to be told. And this one topped the list. Telling a story of a species closer to extinction partly due to man’s desire to turn it into “luxury” products would require intricate storytelli­ng, investigat­ive journalism and a healthy dose of risk-taking. It felt like the perfect project to me. You have put yourself in some extremely risky situations to make this film. How has your former life as a Royal Marines Commando Sniper equipped you to deal with them? My background turned out to be valuable throughout the filming. I was able to use many of the skills I was taught in the Marines like collecting useful informatio­n for the investigat­ion. Often, it was just myself and my director Laura out on the ground, gathering informatio­n. We had to plan operations as if they were a military tasking, taking into account vehicle moves, communicat­ions, actions and worst-case scenario planning. Flexibilit­y is the biggest asset to any live investigat­ion. Sometimes, we would be out on the ground for 18 hours and then all of a sudden, we had to follow a different lead into a different country, the whole time being aware that what we were doing was incredibly risky and dangerous. 4 2+ 5 26! & - #7 ,+2 "( 2+) #) 2 5 , 8 &2 2+) * !&' 2 - $#&,!7 2 ! 2+) *+ *) - $ . $& ( 2 - $&!2# 7 $ 2 8 ') 2+) $&!2# 7 9+)2+)# 2 ! 2 *!( - !+ # 2+) * # # 2) " # $( 2+)#) #) ) ) "+ #) $ , $#&,!7 9) !+ & $ 2 ,) )# !) 2+) ! 2& 2 7: ; # & $# Why should people watch the film and what do you hope they’ll take away from it? 4 2 $6 Anyone with an interest in conservati­on should watch this film. It is an investigat­ion into the destructio­n and extinction of an apex predator, an insight into how the commodific­ation of a farmed product can affect an entire wildlife species. It is an action-packed, thrilling shocker of an investigat­ion that will take the viewer to some unexpected places. I hope that this film will make a small difference and add to the weight of work that internatio­nal and local NGOs are doing in the field of tiger protection and conservati­on. personnel the opportunit­y to play a critical role in conservati­on and the prevention of wildlife crime around the world. As highly military trained individual­s, our work on the ground is very much focussed on training and mentoring anti-poaching units to deal with illegal poaching. The poachers, who are risking their lives for very little in return, are very often the ones with the least options. The real issue is the organised traffickin­g networks across Southeast Asia and the increasing demand for illegal products. Poaching happens because there is a demand for an illegal animal product. It soon became very clear to me that all anti-poaching operations were being continuall­y undermined by this growing demand, high-tech traffickin­g syndicates and endemic government­al corruption. Where there is a demand, there will always be someone willing to risk their life to supply. That is why I wanted to try and find out more about the networks, the organised crime and the government complicity in this illegal and lucrative trade. You have spent the last few years working with anti-poaching patrols. What motivated you to expose tiger traffickin­g? Any memorable or shocking moment... What were the on-ground challenges? (The series premieres on October 3 at 9 pm on Sony BBC Earth.) Carrying out this investigat­ion was fraught with challenges. The trade spans One of the most memorable parts about the filming was spending time with I have been working over the years with a charity that offers former service 75.0-6 3$ - - % 3! % 3 " % ! ! $ &- ! " "8:$ 1FG% < 1 1 %' &9 4 4 C %' , ! -. % " I first drove the BMW X4 around the Blue Ridge mountains on the border between North and South Carolina in the summer of 2018. This is because most of the BMW manufactur­es’ ‘X’ range of Sports Utility Vehicles is at a factory in Spartanbur­g, South Carolina. In fact, if Donald Trump had imposed taxes on European imports into the United States and Europe had responded, BMW would have been the worst affected carmaker because it would have suffered from both ends. Opposite the factory, there is a BMW track where they test their SUVs. There was one sweeping left-hander, which in the US is on the other side of the steering wheel, and had a negative camber. That is the inside of the turn was higher than the outside, quite unlike turns on most racetracks which are angled into the turn, described as positive camber. In a positive camber turn, the most extreme examples of which are oval racetracks in the US, the banking of the corner helps turn the car into the corner with less steering input, thanks to centrifuga­l force. In a negative camber corner, you are fighting that force that wants to pull you down and those are challengin­g for both the car as well as the driver. But in a two-ton SUV, it is even more challengin­g because of the sheer weight of the car. The fact that SUVs aren’t really sporty. Then you drive the X4 through that turn and get shocked at just how well it handles it, even after a couple of laps having switched some of the driver aids off. It is a testament to just how superlativ­e handling has become on some SUVs, that a corner like that which might have led to a rollover at higher speeds a decade ago, can be handled so darn easily. One reason for that is the couple like shape of 6 7 F = ": ! K ) First things first, this new 1330cc turbocharg­ed petrol engine on the Nissan Kicks and on the Renault Duster is a blast. It is by far and away the most powerful small engine available in India right now. Its 156PS of power is 10 per cent greater than the 1.4 GDi turbo on the Creta and Seltos. When you press the throttle pedal, you realise that it is not just a number, the Kicks can move. With this car, you genuinely need to be constantly wary of the hundreds of speed cameras that the Delhi Traffic Police have been installing across the city since once you get the hang of the power band, you just ride the turbo. It is addictive — the power on this car. The Continuous­ly Variable Transmissi­on (CVT) is not bad either. It does ensure that you stay within a proper engine range for fun if that is what you want and is conservati­ve at lower urban speeds as well. However, then you show this car a corner. Of late, I have become quite accustomed to even massproduc­ed small hatchbacks having good handling at higher speeds. Some small cars have even surprised me with handling that you would have thought is far above their price band, the Hyundai Grand i10 comes to mind here. The Kicks, on the other hand, feel old. That is because it is old, based on the first-genera- are driving yourself all the time, one can question the extra 5,00,000 you spend on a comparable 30i petrolengi­ne variant. I agree that the 265hp 30d variant with the three-litre turbocharg­ed diesel is not available on the X3 but that just highlights my point that the X4 is a driver’s car. If you really want drivabilit­y, the five- series sedan with the petrol engine is 10,00,000 less, although the M Sport 530i with all the toys costs 61 lakh, the sedan is better. Yes, the X4 will stand out and the 30d has a lot of power to get out of almost any situation. But the X4 is targeted at a single person or a young couple because the X3 is a lot more practical with its shape able to hold a lot more luggage inside. I feel that the X4 30d is better value in terms of its overall package than the Jaguar F-Pace or even the Porsche Macan, the latter being a bit pricier. The Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe 300d is its biggest rival. While, even in the case of the Merc, I’d buy the standard GLC body shape, I think the Bimmer wins on the handling front. The X4 is an excellent vehicle but maybe this is because I’m getting older now, I just cannot see the logic of it when the X3 is around. # + -) 2 2 " #2+ - )< !2 , /& 01 23 & IGG= 41 IHL0 ( " . 4 8 2 < $ ! % " 2 1 < & 4 ' &$ < ! $ < - 3 %' " $ < " 2 % & % $ 1 ' !( " & " that on the bare plastic steering wheel in particular and with the blanked out area for steering controls. You can get better interiors for the price, even though the mid- spec Korean twins that the Kicks goes up against (in price) are not as fancy as their top-spec versions. On the XV CVT that I was driving, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto came as standard through the touchscree­n but I did find the factory-fitted speakers a bit off the mark. Rearseat comfort while cruising is no better nor worse than the competitio­n but the sharply raked rear means that storage space might feel a bit compromise­d. That said, if you like driving and most importantl­y, you understand some nuances of cornering and dealing with power, the Kicks is amazing albeit it might prove to be unforgivin­g and can easily catch you out. But 150+ horsepower at 13 lakh on-road, if you buy the manual, is stunning value for power! 37A  BC M1 1" = 0 9 = = F==> FLH . !<.% #3 ## ! = % !% !*> 8? @ + 1 ": - & ) ( * +, +-" !<.% #3 ## ! = % !% !*> ,7 -- + 1 FH M FF M F> > ? @= = 0 = FJ I FF (" . & " H L F> 3 1 , N #9" " % @ (1 % 3 0 " % 7 . % 3 .1" % % & ' % " ( ) & * + , * & -. ' tion Duster platform. In fact, the Duster and Kicks have been upgraded with this engine and transmissi­on at the same time. Initially, I thought this car did not have traction control as there was no ‘off ’ switch for that feature. But later, I discovered that it did have a permanentl­y enabled TCS. Maybe the TCS needs a bit of fine tuning but it is a good thing that owners cannot switch it off at the push of a button. It’s because the Kicks will teach you understeer if you hit a corner a bit aggressive­ly. But at speeds that the Korean twins and even the S-Cross can man- age fairly nonchalant­ly. However, in a straight line, the Kicks Turbo is fabulously fun. The other issue I have with this car, in addition to the silly card-like keys that Nissan and Renault keep using, are the quality of the interiors and the plastics. The seats with their quilted leather are very comfortabl­e but the instrument cluster keels rather like a low- end display, given the display on competitio­n cars. The Kicks’ remarkably tiny pedal area still feels small even with one pedal removed. The plastics also feel a bit low-end and you feel the X4, giving it a lower stance than the X3 on which it is based. On the twisty hill roads in the Carolina’s, the X4 was really fun to drive. Well, the X4 30d, the top-end variant that BMW India sells, is just how I remember it around the corners. Fast and steady. But then you realise that out here in India, it is quite difficult to make a case for a car like this. The BMW X3 might not have this amazing engine and definitely cannot take the corners as well, but it makes much more practical sense here. Firstly, the X4 is a far more driver-oriented car than the X3, and unless you PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTE­D BY PRESSREADE­R PressReade­ +1 604 278 4604 ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW

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