A few weeks ago, park rangers patrolling Thailand’s Western Forest Complex came face to face with a group of poachers. The encounter led to gunfire, and the poachers soon fled the scene, leaving some of their belongings behind in the forest. One of the items was a cell phone filled with images that would help government officials and park rangers build a case against the illegal hunters. The rangers also found other evidence of poaching, including animal body parts and insecticides that are sometimes used to poison tigers.

The arrests are the latest achievement of a year-long operation known as the SMART patrol, a program designed to increase monitoring and enforcement in areas important to conservation.

Read more about the incident and view a slideshow with images from the cellphone in this post on the New York Times’ Dot Earth blog by Andrew C. Revkin.

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