India | At Jaldapara NP, villagers integral part of rhino poaching defense
JALDAPARA NATIONAL PARK, India — Poachers killed a rhino in Jaldapara National Park, in India’s West Bengal state, in February this year, but by March 10 there was some good news for conservationists here. Eight poachers from the surrounding villages surrendered to the forest management, pledging to give up poaching and work instead for rhino and forest conservation.
In the presence of at least 150 villagers and senior forest officials, the men laid down their snares, ammunition and homemade weapons. They were poor, mostly illiterate, and came from tribal communities. The oldest among them was 35, the youngest a 14-year-old schoolboy.