In Pursuit of Illegal Loggers in India

Unknown Logger.

In India in a rural area along the border with Bangladesh, Tripp Burwell of the Society for Conservation Biology was helping local villagers learn about forest conservation when they heard the sounds of illegal loggers at work. Pursuit of the poachers resulted in an opportunity to apprehend and talk with the interlopers from a neighboring village, and a lesson in understanding the economic forces that drive people to harvest protected trees.

BAGHMARA, Meghalaya, India–“No, no. You go first,” I exhaled as I hauled myself up another knife-sharp limestone boulder.

An Indian Forest Officer, carrying a loaded gun, stumbled, and then heaved himself up and around me.

“Thwunk! Thwunk! Thwunk!”

We had started at dawn with all the male villagers in Kosi Gittim (“Kosi Village” in the local Garo tongue) – a few dozen men in total.

“Thwunk! Thwunk! Thwunk!”

They looked to me. Shrugging, I simply pointed towards the noise rippling through the forest on the edge of Balpakram National Park.

“Thwunk! Thwunk! Thwunk!”

Peering around bus-size boulders, we saw only empty forest.

“Thwunk! Thwunk! Thwunk!”

Cut logs, ready for floating down river to Bangladesh, lined the path.

First one man, then another, turned back from a hilltop.


The men of Kosi shouted.


There was no third axe stroke this time, only —> Read More Here


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