Tell Ranger Li you care, send a postcard today!
And who would blame them. Despite being threatened with violence from poachers, some of whom even prepared sharp nail traps and steel traps to harm him, Li refuses to give up his fight to stop illegal activities in the reserve.
“People who set up snares want to hunt wild animals for food or money, and they don’t understand why I remove their traps,” said Li, who started work as a ranger in 2002, after retiring from the military.
Spreading awarenessLi starts work very early everyday and does not get off till late. He spends hours traversing the forests, looking out for poachers and removing snares as well as tracking wildlife to collect and record data on their movement.
“As a forestry worker and a wildlife preservationist, it is my duty to stop illegal activities, to teach people the importance of preserving wildlife, and to help them realize that it is every citizen’s responsibility to do so,” said the animal lover, who received training in wildlife patrolling and monitoring under a WWF-organised programme, to gain a deeper understanding of wildlife conservation work.
From poacher to wildlife protectorOne of Li’s greatest joys is turning a poacher into a wildlife protector. Recounting the incident, Li said, “One day on the way back from patrolling, my colleague and I chanced upon a man carrying a bag. Instincts told me he was probably a poacher. We invited him to sit and have a chat in our vehicle. When he was not paying attention, I felt his bag and just as I had suspected, it was full of snares. On realizing that we knew what he was up to, the poacher got out of the car and ran away.”
Later, the poacher, accompanied by a friend, went to see Li to ask Li not to report him to the authorities. Li explained to the poacher, the seriousness and consequences of killing wildlife.
The poacher subsequently promised not to hurt wild animals and even volunteered to work with the ranger team to help protect wildlife. He also removed all the snares he had set up.
Building relationshipsThese days, the villagers understand Li’s work and are supportive; they provide him with information about local wildlife, such as where to find tigers, roe deer and wild boars, and also giving him tips on who are hunting or trapping wild animals.
It’s all about building good relationships with the people, says Li. Many of these people live deep in the mountain areas and Li cherishes his interactions with them.
Fewer snares nowLi’s hard work and devotion are paying off. There are fewer and fewer snares and traps in the mountains, he says. “I believe that through our collective efforts and perseverance, we can improve people’s knowledge of wildlife conservation.
There will then be more and more wild animals roaming freely in the forests. Relationships between man and nature will also become more harmonious. Our lives will be better.”
Buy or make a card and mail it to:
As a forestry worker and a wildlife preservationist, it is my duty to stop illegal activities, to teach people the importance of preserving wildlife, and to help them realize that it is every citizen’s responsibility to do so.