In 2013, two old folk, Udom and Daeng Siri-on, were sentenced to 15 years in jail for picking wild mushrooms in a Kalasin National Park. A few weeks ago, a Karen villager was jailed for seven years and two months for shooting a bearcat in Si Yok National Park. This week a rich, hi-so icon of Thai industry was convicted and given a jail sentence of one year and four months, but then bailed, in connection with the death of a black leopard, not to mention a barking deer and a rare pheasant. Somehow, the leopard managed to end up riddled with bullets without anyone being convicted for actually shooting it, which begs the question of whether the forensics investigations of the previous cases were similarly rigorous. Perhaps the leopard committed suicide. But this is rather beside the point.
I believe that these three cases provide a useful yardstick of the relative values which Thailand puts on its wild flora and fauna. Just think – if any wild mushrooms had been found in Premchai’s leopard tail soup, he would have been in deep trouble. Or am I missing something?