Man caught in park with dismembered black bear

Man caught in park with dismembered black bear

The head, paws and meat of a black bear, a dead civet, and shotgun and ammunition seized from suspected poacher Somjit Boonkong, 52. (Photo by Chaiwat Satyaem)
The head, paws and meat of a black bear, a dead civet, and shotgun and ammunition seized from suspected poacher Somjit Boonkong, 52. (Photo by Chaiwat Satyaem)

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN: Forest rangers have arrested a 52-year-old man in possession of the dismembered carcass of an Asian black bear, a dead civet and a long-barreled shotgun and ammunition.

Photos of the dead animals circulated on social media and sparked a frenzy of demands that authorities take the case seriously.

Pol Col Somcharn Pinkhanngern, chief of Ao Noi police station, said the arrest was made on Saturday by Kui Buri National Park rangers who, while on patrol, came across two men acting suspiciously.

One of them fled into the forest but the other, identified as Somjit Boonkong, 52, a resident of tambon Ao Noi in Muang district, was detained. In his backpack the rangers found a bear head, two bear paws, meat  and a gutted dead civet.

He was carrying a shotgun, ammunition, two hunting headlamps, a hammock and other items.

The rangers suspect the man who fled had the rest of the bear and possibly the carcasses of other animals.

Mr Somjit was initially charged with illegal hunting of wildlife and having dead wildlife in his possession without permission or good cause.

Pol Maj Gen Pattana Phetsyanawin, chief of Prachuap Khiri Khan police, said police knew the identity of the other man and would seek a court warrant for his arrest, and he would be caught.

He said wildlife poaching is a sensitive issue following the arrest of construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta in the Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary last month.

Asian black bears are protected under the 1992 Wildlife Protection Act. An adult bear is 1.2 - 1.5 metres long and can weigh 150-160kg.

Illegal possession of the carcass of a wild animal carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison and/or a fine of 10,000 baht.


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