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Online , 24 Jun 05
Poacher hunter's escape
Wildlife SOS chief recalls his arrest by Indian cops
Jasmine Yin firstname.lastname@example.org
HE is the terror of poachers in India. But the Indian police mistook Mr Kartick Satyanarayan for a terrorist of a different sort when they picked him up during a covert anti-poaching operation in the country's Orissa state six months ago. Mr Satyanarayan, 30, co-founder of the animal advocacy group Wildlife SOS, was posing as a middleman trading in poached bear cubs. With his informant in tow, he had followed a poacher into the jungle.
"My heart was beating very fast because the poachers all had these big swords and we had no weapons. If they had sensed anything amiss, they would have searched me, found the secret camera equipment and killed us," he told Today on the sidelines of the Asia for Animals Conference 2005 here.
The poachers left him and his informant by the main road to look for his accomplices. Then a passing police patrol picked them up. "I couldn't tell the policemen my identity in case they were connected with the poachers. I gave them a fictitious name, but they were not buying my story and even took my mug-shot, thinking that I was a terrorist," he said.
He managed to contact a top police official, who got them out of the mess.
Yesterday, Mr Satyanarayan gave the 200-odd conference participants from local and international agencies an insight into Wildlife SOS' anti-poaching operations.
In Singapore, illegal wildlife trade is on the rise with 97 cases reported last year, up from 34 in 2000. . Asked if Singapore was becoming a hub for the illegal trade, Dr Lou Ek Hee, head of the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority's (AVA) Animal Welfare Regulations Branch, told Today "part of the problem is that we are an entrepot trade port".
"We are a place where things are coming through and it is hard to control. You cannot be checking every single container. But wherever the AVA can, we will take action. There has also got to be concerted efforts by different parties along the international supply and demand chain to stop this trade," he added.
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