Wildlife trade discussion with English translation.
Possibly recorded at night.
Park morning ambiance
Recorded on 12Sep2003. Multiple locations in Kaeng Krachan National Park.
Praw Ring(?), Michael Sullivan
Recorded on 12Sep2003. Discussion with former poacher turned enforcer with English translation.
NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
11 Sep 2003
- Kaeng Krachan National Park
- 12.75085 99.59839
- Sennheiser MKH 30
- Sennheiser MKH 40
Decoded MS stereo
Show: Thailand Wildlife Trade
Log of DAT #11, Kaeng Krachen Interviews
Recorded in MS
Engineer: Charles Thompson
Date: September 11, 2003
1:25-2:40 Sounds of planes and feet shuffling: ambi. Birds in background, crackling under feet, slight voices. G
2:41 MS: If you could please, just identify yourself on the tape- chalking up a level for us.
2:47 Translator talking to man. Responds in Thai for voice level. G
3:01 MS: And you've been here how long?
3:03 Female Translator asks- then Man responds ¿ah four years¿
3:07 MS: four years.
3:08-3:10 Shuffling feet, shuffling continues again until 3:23
3:24 MS: In that four years that you've been here, in terms of the poaching problem, has the problem gotten worse, or has the problem gotten better, from your point of view, from the enforcement point of view?
3:37 Translator speaks Thai. G
3:48 Man responds to her in Thai. G
4:06 She answers back in English: He says like it decreased, because he has a pen, that has concentrate encroachment things, like they have to do more patrol in the forest. And they like train their staff to do the better patrol...
4:35 MS: And how big of staff do you have at the park?
4:39 Translator talks to man. He responds in Thai. G
5:06 Translator: Uh, he has like 16 government officer, and has like uh...(5:14-5:25 the two converse in Thai again)
5:26 Translator: uh he has like 21 park rangers like... (5:28 He talks to her again)
5:33 Translator: and temporary police staff, 300 of temporary police staff.
5:40 MS: 21 park rangers and 300 temporary rangers?
5:47 Translator: yeah, ranger, yeah.
5:49 MS: Temporary Rangers. Permanent Staff of 21 rangers, 300 on Temporary duty here now. So you have over 300 rangers patrolling this park, but on the other hand, this is the largest national park in Thailand, yes?
6:01 Translator and man converse.
7:15 She answers: He said 21 park rangers in a person who achieves of the substation. So in this park it has 12 substation, and 300 rangers, not all of them doing patrol. Only 150 who are doing patrol. And another 150 do the general thing, like stuff with tourist, or working in professional house keeping.
7:56 MS: Do you have enough rangers to do proper enforcement from your point of view, or do you need more?
8:02 Translator and man converse.
8:15 Translator: Not enough, not enough if compared to the whole park- and the area of the whole park.
8:25 MS: You have far too big an area to try to protect here. To protect it with the men available to you.
8:30 Translator and man converse.
9:08 Translator- he said like in Kaeng Krachen, the area of Kaeng Krachen is about 2,900 square kilometers. It is very big.
9:22 MS: Do you need twice as many rangers, three times as many? How many do you need to make this work effectively, how many would you like to have?
9:31 Translator and man converse.
10:11 Translator: he said he want to like, add more to substation. He has more- like 300 more ranger to cover all the area.
10:28 MS: He wants to double it, he wants to double it to do it effectively. I understand you have a pilot project here, now- that involves the use of elephants to patrol. The rangers using elephants to patrol the forest, is that true, and how is that working?
10:45 Translator and man converse.
11:45 Translator: he said it just start only one month, but it seem very good. He use the elephant to do the night patrol, so it's like he can do more patrol during the day and at night, too, so it can decrease the poachers, who come into the forest.
12:08 MS How many elephants are you using at this point?
12:12 Translator and man converse.
12:21 Translator: 12 elephants.
12:22 MS: And are you using any near the place where we'll be spending the night this evening?
12:26 Translator and man converse
12:32 MS: Because it would be great for us to be able to see this happening, and perhaps to even go along with this.
12:38 Man talks to translator
12:56 Translator: He says do you want, he can arrange for you? (man laughing in the background)
13:02 MS: Oh, that's tricky moral ground right there. I mean, if you're going to do one anyway, and this just accelerated the process a little bit- well yes, that would be lovely.
13:15 Translator and man converse.
13:46 Translator: He says like usually he has a like mali (??) plan, they know exactly where they are going, they are working, but right now he don't know where they are working. But if you like want to see how they are working, he will like tell his staff to show you how.
14:15 MS: Well that would be fabulous. Thank you very much.
14:18 Translator and man converse.
14:48 Translator: He says it has two elephants at a substation that we will pass. If you want, he will phone to that substation and ask about- they have available ranger who can...
15:10 MS: Go out on a little patrol. But he needs to call and confirm. I understand that we didn't ask you before and I apologize for that. Well, ok- we'll get back to that. Let me just ask you- how do the people that live in and around the park view your efforts to stop the poaching?
15:33 Translator talks to man.
15:42 MS: Because I would think that some of them like the idea of seeing their heritage, if you will, protected. To see their wildlife protected. But on the other hand, many of them have probably been doing this poaching for generation... either getting money from it or getting meat from doing it, and for them, that must breed some resentment for your efforts.
16:06 Translator and man converse.
17:01 Translator: he said like, he do more patrol- which is if people come to like get something from the forest is illegal- so if they meet the ranger- they will get caught and have to go to the police station. So if you make more patrol, they won't come too often. And after project, the government try to encourage them to do agriculture. Like pineapple field, or lamb field, lamb garden. Try to make them farming.
17:56 MS: So the government tries to come up with economic alternatives for these people to make a living- by giving them land, and teaching them how to farm- so that poaching does not look economically attractive as an alternative.
18:11 Translator and man converse.
19:06 Translator: Yes, it's correct. Like government give them land in one area, in the southern of this park- is a project that the government give religa(???), cow, who can they can get milk from the cow. So like religa(???), they have cow to get milk to sell in the market- so they stop going in the forest.
19:37 MS: And yet there are literally, by all estimates, billions of dollars to be made, in smuggling wildlife. A business that is so organized, that I'm told that poachers come to this forest with a, what do you want to call it...that poachers come to this forest basically with an order form from the trader, and they come into the forest to fulfill that order, to fulfill that order. I mean this is a very organized operation we're talking about.
20:19 Translator converses with man.
21:25 Translator: Um, it's true that they have order from trader, but is like is have more order than doing this time. Uhh...
21:41 MS: Like they have more orders than they can fill?
21:45 Translator: I mean like long time ago, at time when he came here to work in this area, this have lot of order, from trader, and has car to pick up the wildlife in the village. But right now it has decreased because he has spy to work in the village and give him the news or the information from the village.
22:16 MS: So, your intelligence is good in the villages surrounding the park, but at the same time, this is an example of how organized this business is. That people come to the park with an order form, basically. And say- I need to come up with one panther, with one of these, one of these. It's highly organized, despite your best efforts. You yourself said you need almost twice as many men. Let me just add, it's like fighting the drugs traffickers, like fighting the arms traffickers. They're better equipped and have better resources than you have.
22:58 Translator speaks with man.
23:21 Translator: Kapun. Thank you. And he just told with the last question he caught one poacher last April- he caught a poacher with an order with the trader want to, that poacher have to face manchak, and that poacher have to lemur (???) with them. The poacher carry two fierce manchak and tree stealing.
24:00 MS: They had them. They had them already- so they had filled the order- they just didn't have time to deliver it before you caught them. Ok. Carolyn-
24:16 Carolyn: So is he hopeful, that things will improve? Or are there always going to be poachers?
24:30 MS: Do you think you can ever stop this entirely, or do you think that there will always be poachers as long as there are always customers somewhere else?
24:40 Translator and man converse.
25:18 Translator: He says during the time he has been work in this park for 4 years, he said it um impossible that he can stop poaching in this park, but he has tried to make it decrease, and make it lower, and lower and lower. But if you want to stop them, you have to ask for the government to give him more budget and more stuff and do more work- more than this.
26:06 MS: If your wildest dreams were answered, if the government said right, tell me everything you need and I'll give it to you. Could you stop it? Or would there still be poachers because there is still demand, no matter how much better enforcement gets?
26:22 Translator and man converse.
27:16 Translator: He said is difficult to stop it permanently- but you have time to do many things- like to give people the education and many process to go to that point. He said it's difficult to stop them suddenly, he might have long time to do that. So maybe or maybe not.
27:58 MS: Decades? Or nevermind, it doesn't really matter. What I think I'm hearing you say is that you could do a better job if there was political will to give you more resources, and that's something I've actually heard from many people- that here at the park level for example- people are doing a very good job, people like you are doing a very good job, the rangers, who I understand are local rangers, are doing a very good job in trying to stop the poaching. But what happens is, you're not getting the resources you need from the central government because they don't see it to be as big a problem, as big a threat, as you do.
28:41 Translator talks to man.
29:02 Translator: Sorry, I'm losing your question. I know that you know that you are, he have problem about money and people, and then what?
29:17 MS: He's not getting the resources he needs from the central government. That everyone tells me that at this level- people are sincere. At the park level, at the superintendent level, at the ranger level- there's sincerity there. When it gets to the central government, that the sincerity is not there. That the resources are not there, that the commitment is not there as it should be.
29:43 Translator converses with man.
29:59 MS: you're on the ground- you see the extent of the problem. They are sitting in Bangkok. They cannot not see it, or if they see it, they choose to ignore it.
30:08 Man speaks to translator.
30:54 Translator: He said yes, the problem is that he don't have enough money or enough resource. He have to do the best thing that he have. He have to use the, he has to like get the most benefit from what he have. From the government, is not beyond his idea and his duty.
31:37 MS: It's not up to him to say what the government is or isn't doing. He just tries to do the best he can with what he has available. Ok, fair enough. Alright, thank you. I think that's fine for me. I appreciate it. And if we can go find an elephant patrol down the road, even better.
32:00 Translator speaks with man.
32:28 Translator: He said after lunch. He will getting the information about elephant and then he will tell us.
32:38 MS: Can I just ask one other question... I mean roughly, I know you don't have exact figures, how many visitors a year do you have to the park? .... Legally I mean.
32:44 Translator converses with man.
33:01 Translator: It's about like 100,000 a year.
33:09 MS: 100,000. Mostly foreigners, or mostly Thais?
33:13 Translator and man converse.
33: 19 Translator: Mix.
33:19 MS: Mix. Ok, because of the mix, that would seem to indicate that the people who live here think it's as important as the people who come here to see what they see as exotic wildlife.
33:30 Translator and man speak.
33:50 Translator: Yea, yea. He says is correct.
33:52 Thank yous...ambience- sounds of people walking away. Birds in the distance, faint sound motors, Thais talking in distance- ambi continues until 38:08 G
38:20 New Ambi- park at night? Echoes of birds, insects. Sound of walking. Branches/twigs breaking. Walking sounds much heavier starting during minute 43:00. Crickets/insects get very loud. Ends at 49:29VG
49:32 William Sullivan and engineer talking.
50:25 ¿The Carolyn Cuts¿ New Ambi. Bird sounds. In particular, a very interesting loud bird making calls intermittently. Insects. Night in a forest. Until 53:00. VG
53:16 New Ambi, walking, feet shuffling on dirt/rock ground. Insects, birds, water movement (either waterfall or stream). Until 56:30- then engineers talking VG
57:26 Morning ambi. Rainfall, insects, birds. Continues until 57:50- then engineer starts talking.
58:25 New Ambi (still morning), rain, water movement (stream), birds, insects in forest. VG
1h.00:00 begins walk along to a new location. Insects, water movement, rain, birds. A bit softer than the last Ambi. Faint walking heard. Rain gets louder at 1h :03 minutes. VG
1h04 new morning ambiance. Rain steady. Until 1h08. G
1:08:30 Pickup on bird calls. Insects, rain. Branches breaking. Faint Talking. Until 1:11:00. VG
1:11:25 New Pickup. Ambi of new bird sounds, insects. Until 1:13:48
1:14:24 Pickup on the arrival of people coming towards Engineer. Insects, Birds. Walking and footsteps. Thai heard and English being spoken by Thai. Then Michael Sullivan and co.
1:17:45 Praw Ring introducing himself. Translator translating.
1:17:43 MS Praw Ring What? Surname?
1:17:46 PR Praw Ring Gim Khai.
1:17:50 MS Age?
1:17:53 Translator and PR converse. Translator responds:41.
1:17:57 MS: 41. You look too good for 41.
1:18:02 Translator relays the message.
1:18:23 MS: Praw Ring, what is this?
1:18 Translator and Praw Ring converse. She responds: Is a small civet. A small Indian civet.
1:18:46 MS: So the civet has come down and crossed the road overnight?
1:18:48 Translator and PR converse. She answers at 1:18:56: He said it look for food along the road.
1:18:58 MS: Along the road he's looking for food (translator answers yes). Now the civet- is the civet something that's hunted here regularly?
1:19:08 Translator and PR converse. She answers at1:19:26: He said that is looking for small animal- as frog- and ????
1:19:40 MS: Is the small Indian civet something that poachers come here to find?
1:19:45 Translator and PR converse. She answers at 1:19:54: Yea, for food.
1:19:55 MS: For food, but not to sell?
1:19:57 Translator and Praw Ring converse. She answers at 1:20:09: Yea, it's for food, and it's for trade.
1:20:12 MS: And what parts of the civet do they trade?
1:20:15 Praw Ring talks to translator. She answers at 1:20:26: Um, they trade for meat. For food.
1:20:31 MS: Ok. Let's keep walking. 1:20:36: Praw Ring, I see you look up at the trees, often. What are you looking for?
1:20:43 Translator and Praw Ring converse. She answers at 1:21:08. He's looking for animal. He say that every time he walk in the forest, usually. He walk for- usually looking up for any kind of animal. And he, every time he listen, and looking, so he can see animal.
1:21:35 MS: Praw Ring, what can we find here in this park? How many different species of animals?
1:21:40 Translator and PR converse. She answers at 1:21:57 Squirrel, monkey, and gibbon- they're easy to see.
1:22:06 MS: But in this forest. What else is in this forest? Everything that he used to hunt- everything that is on the endangered list, everything that is on the threatened list you can find here, and can he just tell me what they are?
1:22:19 Translator and PR converse. She answers at 1:23:16: he said that you can see like al of animal, such as manchat???, deer, wild boar, and a lot. Every animal that you think is in this forest.
1:23:35 MS: Cats?
1:23:36 Translator asks PR. Answers at 1:23:43: Yeah, every kind of cat.
1:23:46 MS: So really, if I were a trader, I would look at this National Park, which is the largest in the country- as a great big bank, or a great big supermarket, where I could come, and get whatever I wanted?
1:24:03 Translator and Praw Ring converse. She answers at 1:24:45: He said now this area is National Park, so it's difficult than before. This area is protected, so if you want to have the animal- it's illegal. And he doesn't want to do that.
1:25:06 MS: Right. But I'm not asking him, because I know he doesn't do that anymore. I'm asking for a trader, a trader looks at this park and sees a supermarket.
1:25:16 Translator and Praw Ring converse. She answers at 1:25:51: He said he know really little about Kaeng Krachen, because he work here only one year. But at Kalay (??) National Park, he know everything- every square kilometer. You know.
1:26:08 MS: Right, but if this is, this is a protected area. He just said that you can find everything here. SO if you can find everything here, than for a trader, like this is a goldmine.
1:26:24 Translator and PR converse. She answers at 1:26:56: He said if the villager around this park, yea, probably be uh good for them, yea- but its difficult to walk into the middle and hunt a lot of animal and go back because there is no road.
1:27:19 MS: Ok. You used to be one of those people who would come here, or would come to a park like this one...to hunt...what did you hunt?
1:27:29 Translator: Converses with PR and continues MS questions. Answers at 1:28:16 He kill every animal that he found.
1:28:22 MS: He said a little more than that, now what did he say?
1:28:24 Translator: Yea he said, like he kill everything that can eat. Like when he told he saw manchat, and everything.
1:28:35 MS: Tell me everything. He told you everything, now you tell me everything.
1:28:38 Translator: and python, snake...
1:28:43 MS: Come on.
1:28:45 Praw Ring talks to translator
1:28:56 Translator: Mouse deer, egret, manchat, deer, wild boar, gibbon, monkey.
1:29:13 MS: And many...many elephants, yes?
1:29:18 Translator checks with PR. Answers at 1:29:22: Yes, elephants, and cow.
1:29:25 MS: How many elephants did you kill?
1:29:27 Translator and PR converse. Translator answers at 1:29:45:Yeah, he went to many areas in Thailand, and Malaysia and is all about 60-70 elephants he killed.
1:29:53 MS: And you killed them for your tusks? And you killed them for their tusk. A trader paid you for the tusks. How much would you get for an elephant?...How much would you get for a set of elephant tusks?
1:30:11 Translator converses with PR. Translator answers at 1:30:30: Yeah he said, it depend on how big, and how heavy. Usually it's about 1,000 baht per kilo.
1:30:40 MS: 1,000 baht per kilo.
1:30:42 Translator: Oh no, not one, 6,000 baht per kilo.
1:30:44 MS: 6,000 baht per kilo. That's...let's do the math here. 4,000 baht would be 100. Right, so that would be $150 for a kilo, which would be $75 a pound. But you would be killing an animal that weighed several thousand pounds, and all that you would be getting from it would be a few pounds of tusk.
1:31:19 Translator and PR converse. She answers at 1:32:00: He said he not killed small elephants that have small tusk, he would kill elephant with big tusk, so he could get lot of money. But it depends on what is the quality of the tusk, if the tusk would have insects eating the tusk- maybe he would only get 3,000 baht per kilo.
1:32:29 MS: But he would take an animal that weighed several thousand pounds, from that animal, he would only take a few pounds of tusk, and the rest of the animal would remain. It just seems like such an incredible waste.
1:32:42 Translator converses with PR. She answers at 1:33:21 He said that at that time, he didn't know what conservation. He know only money. He want to get money, he go to kill. Never think about conservation.
1:33:37 MS: Do you feel remorseful now, do you feel regret, at having killed so many hundreds of animals?
1:33:42 Translator and PR converse. She answers at 1:34:13 He said at the time, he never know and he never feel- and never know the conservation. And now he feel very ashamed. And but at that time, he never know. Any time he could get 5 or 10 baht, he do it.
1:34:35 Praw Ring tells more to the translator.
1:35:24 Translator: He said like, now he would try to do everything he can to suspend the thing that he did before. He want to work in conservation field a lot. So he try to conserve animal as much as he can now to be like...
1:35:53 MS: He's trying to erase his sins. You're trying to erase your sins.
1:35:58 Translator and man converse. She answers at 1:36:19 Yeah, he feel good to work in this field now.
1:36:26 MS: But at the same time, you understand why people still come to the forest to poach, yes? But he understands why people still come to the forest to poach. Even though he no longer does it, he understands why other people do it.
1:36:41 Translator and PR converse. She answers at 1:37:43 He said he understand the poacher, and long time ago- he never know about the conservation. He have to have a long time to understand why people have to conserve the animal. He have to go into school- he have to like go into many training to get to know about conservation. At the first time he said somebody told him that stop kill, you should stop kill the animal, because it gonna extinct in the future, he didn't listen, he wanted to get money and is like- is what he used to it. But after, sometime after a period, everybody come to talk to him about this- and he get something and something, and he understand why we have to conserve the animal now.
1:39:00 MS: Praw Ring, are you afraid, that despite your best effort here, the hunting is going to continue, the wildlife trade will continue, and you might lose these animals?
1:39:07 Translator explains to PR.
1:39:33 MS: Are you worried that these animals might not be here?
1:39:35 Translator and PR converse. She answers at 1:40:14: He said his idea, from his idea, he don't think it gonna extinct, because yea, in the past- every poacher could come easily- no ranger. But now, like have a lot of ranger, so is a little bit difficult to kill some animal- so he think that now he have some people working to protect the wildlife, so...
1:40:49 Praw Ring explains more to translator.
1:40:58 Translator: He said that in the park- the National Park has very few ranger, but now every park has more ranger, so is more difficult.
1:41:14 MS: But at the same time, everything that we can find here at this park- we can also find in the markets in say, Pa Chilik (??). If you want it, it's here.
1:41:32 Translator explains and converses with PR. Answers at 1:42:12: He said long time ago, is a lot more than you see today. Both wildlife in the park, and wildlife that trade in the market. A long time ago, if you go in the market- everywhere they sell wildlife. But now villagers or poachers can get caught easily, so is not much anymore.
1:42:42 MS: Okay, I understand, that enforcement is better now, but if I am a poacher, and I am motivated, I can find whatever I want here- that I can find in that market in Pa Chilik, it's all here, right?
1:42:58 Translator and PR converse. She answers at 1:43:30 Yea, yea, he says. But he have to like, finding the information like where is ranger first, and after he know, he will go like, another way and kill the animal, and come back in another way.
1:43:43 MS: And this park is protected. Most of the countryside, most of the jungle in this country is not protected.
1:43:50 Translator and PR converse. She answers at 1:43:08: He don't know, he don't know.
1:44:11 MS: Ok, thank you. 1:44:27 Praw Ring, what are these tracks, here?
1:44:29 Translator and PR converse. 1:44:34 Machak.
1:44:32 MS: That's a small, Asain Deer, yes?
1:44:35 Translator and PR converse. 1:44:54 Translator: Yes. But have red body.
1:44:55 MS: And though it's fairly plentiful here in the park, it is something that is traded for meat and for it's body parts in the market, yes?
1:44:59 Translator and PR converse. She answers at 1:45:25 She said Manchak- you can get a lot of money for Manchak meat. Is about 150-200 baht per kilo.
1:45:41 MS: And the parts?
1:45:43 Translator and PR converse. 1:45:54 Translator: And the parts is cheaper. Because is...
1:45:59 MS: The parts, in addition to the meat, do they hunt it for parts? Didn't we see some...
1:46:03 Translator and PR converse. Translator: 1:46:28 yea, he said for Manchak, is not expensive, because he have chart antelope- but before- if you get a very beautiful one, you can get like 6,000 baht for one head, but if not good you can get about 3,000 baht.
1:46:55 MS: Praw Ring, Ok, go.
1:46:07 Departure for ambiance. Various birds, insects.
1:48:07 MS: Praw Ring, you are a reformed poacher, but what do you tell poachers you come across in the park here, in the jungle?... Do you try to convince them that what they're doing is wrong?
1:48:17 Translator explains to PR and they converse. Translator at 1:48:53 He said he doesn't have much left than before, somebody that he know who quit because it is difficult work in the forest now. Because of have a lot of ranger, have a lot of officer.
1:49:19 Praw Ring speaks more to Translator. She explains at 1:49:56: He said that if he can tell them, he will say you can not do anything after you feel ashamed- so like stop now- because after you feel it's wrong- you will feel very bad with yourself.
1:50:28 MS: Ok, thank you.
1:50:30 shuffling feet in the forest. Walking heard. Birds, insects.
1:51:00 Praw Ring, what do we have here, this looks like some recent droppings from overnight?
1:51:08 Translator and PR converse. Translator at 1:51:29 He said it's small Indian civit, same as that one, but that one have more liquid than this one.
1:51:40 MS: More liquid? Ok. And this over here, this would also be civit droppings?
1:51:44 Translator and PR converse. Answers at 1:51:55: that one is common kind of civit.
1:51:59 MS: So civit, but different kind of civit.
1:52:03 Translator: That one eat more plant than meat, but this one usually only have meat.
1:52:11 MS: Only meat. The vegetarian stool actually looks much better.
1:52:19 sounds of feet shuffling, walking. Birds, insects. Talking amongst crew.
1:53:10 New Ambi- sounds, birds, insects, feet, water until 1:54:43. VG
1:55:00 Tail end ambi- with a walkaway. Rain, birds. Insects. Rain gets increasingly heavier and louder. VG
1:57:47 Engineer asks Thai man to identify forest sound- says it's a 'Daskee Lango'- a leaf monkey. Ambi continues until 1:59:06. VG
Engineers pee and engage in tomfoolery.
Sound on tape ends at 2:02:18