The Wildlife Conservation Society is congratulating Thailand officials for their exceptional enforcement of wildlife protection laws in the Thungyai Naresuan West Wildlife Sanctuary with the arrest of a construction tycoon and his companions found Sunday in possession of dead protected animals and firearms.

Premchai Karnasuta, president of Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD) and three others with him have been charged with unauthorized hunting in a wildlife sanctuary and a host of other violations. The accused were found in a no-camping area with guns, a dead Indochinese leopard and the carcasses of other wildlife.

The sanctuary where the arrest took place is a World Heritage Site, located near the border of Thailand and Myanmar, where WCS has supported the work of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation for longer than a decade, strengthening protection of forest and wildlife under the SMART patrol system, building capacity for a generations of wildlife officers since the undergraduate degree, and, most importantly, successfully recovering tigers and other threatened species. The area is one of the very few strongholds of the Indochinese leopard, a subspecies facing a significant global decline due to poaching and habitat destruction. 

Said Dr. John Robinson, WCS Executive Vice President of Conservation and Science: “The rangers who investigated this alleged poaching incident should be applauded for their work which led to the arrests and the confiscation of the illegally poached wildlife. We call on the Thailand legal system to move forward with this case against the accused to ensure justice and to send a clear signal to others that that there is not an open season on exploiting Thailand's natural heritage."