Law enforcement in Madhya Pradesh, India have finally tracked down, after six years of trying, a man whose name is Yarlen. He is a tiger poacher and he believes that eating the penis of sloth bears helps to cure impotence.
I’m told that people in the West, in developed countries, should be reluctant to criticise people like him. They live in a different culture and we must respect it. I understand that concept. However, you could argue that this man is very ignorant and that his ignorance leads to bizarre beliefs and behaviour which is detrimental to wildlife conservation.
You could argue that the tiger belongs to the world and therefore if one person in India is killing endangered tigers, for what I’m sure is the Chinese tiger body parts market, you have a right to criticise anybody in any place in the world because they are damaging the conservation of an iconic animal which belongs to all of us. It just happens that the Bengal tiger lives mainly in India. It’s a shame because there are people like Yarlen in India who are ignorant and who don’t care about wildlife conservation. The same can be said about many people in the West too, incidentally but there are no tigers in the West.
Not only did he poach and kill tigers, he killed sloth bears for their reproductive organs. If the man is impotent I am sure that he is still impotent. He admitted that he has killed several tigers and many sloth bears including hundreds of wild boar and peacocks.
He also admitted to the Forest Department in Madhya Pradesh that he would sell the gallbladders of the bears to businessmen who presumably sold them on to consumers because they believe that the gallbladder has special properties. Another ignorant belief I am reluctant to say.
Yarlen had eluded the authorities for years by using fake documents and different names. He’s been accused of killing a tigress which went missing in the Pench Reserve in Madhya Pradesh in 2012. The tigress’s hide was found 1000 miles away in Nepal.
The story gives us an insight into the kind of people who poach tigers for wealthy individuals often living outside of India. The question, as mentioned, is are we entitled to criticise this man? My argument is that we are because tiger conservation is a world issue. Although Indian authorities are responsible for tiger conservation the rest of the world should assist more in this monumental task because big business outflanks tiger conservation. Not enough is done by America for instance to put pressure on China to improve tiger conservation.
There are still a lot of people in the world who believe that eating the body parts of animals cures certain ills. Yarlen in a good example and there are people in China who believe that eating the tiger’s penis will cure them of impotence or make them more dynamic in bed. I don’t know and I don’t care about the specifics. All I know is that it is total madness and the height of ignorance and that it has cost the lives of many hundreds of tigers over the years.
The world has a long way to go before we can say that humankind is educated.