Ac­tivist bites back at dead leop­ard posts

Bangkok Post - - NATIONAL - TAAM YINGCHAROEN

An en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivist has crit­i­cised ne­ti­zens for dis­miss­ing the re­cent death of an In­dochi­nese leop­ard, say­ing the killing was tragic be­cause the species is so rare and im­por­tant to na­ture.

The crit­i­cism was in re­sponse to many com­ments on so­cial me­dia ques­tion­ing why the death of the leop­ard in a wildlife sanc­tu­ary in Kan­chanaburi prov­ince on Feb 4 was such a big deal when tens of thou­sands of live­stock are slaugh­tered ev­ery day.

“Peo­ple don’t un­der­stand that such an­i­mals are im­por­tant. They keep nat­u­ral habi­tats and bio­di­ver­sity in equi­lib­rium,” said Sara­narat Kan­jana­vanit, founder of the Green World Foun­da­tion.

She was speak­ing at a sem­i­nar on en­dan­gered an­i­mals at Chu­la­longkorn Univer­sity.

Ms Sara­narat cited a case in Yel­low­stone Na­tional Park in the United States where wolves were re-in­tro­duced af­ter they were oblit­er­ated by hunt­ing 70 years ago.

“Deer be­came the dom­i­nant species in Yel­low­stone as wolves used to keep their pop­u­la­tion in con­trol. Their num­bers grew so large they ate all the fo­liage and patches of grass to the point where the land­scape looked bare” Ms Sara­narat said.

“Once the veg­e­ta­tion went, floods en­sued and the park be­came like a waste­land. Af­ter rein­tro­duc­ing the wolves, ev­ery­thing came back to life,” Ms Sara­narat added.

Chu­la­longkorn Univer­sity’s Fac­ulty of Psy­chol­ogy aca­demic Som­pote Ei­amsu­p­a­sit said hun­ters go­ing af­ter en­dan­gered wildlife is a prob­lem that will per­sist.

“I wouldn’t want to give peo­ple false hopes, but end­ing the hunt­ing of en­dan­gered an­i­mals is a utopian ap­proach to the world’s re­al­i­ties,” he said.

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