BANGKOK — A forestry official was sacked from his job Monday after the director-general of the Forestry Department saw his posts bragging about jungle cats, mongooses and other wild animals he has killed.
Chakkrit Cheenpet, a forest ranger in Kamphaeng Phet province’s protected Mae Raka Forest, was fired after he was discovered killing the very animals he was tasked with protecting in a leaked cache of photographs taken by hunters and illegal poachers earlier this month.
Read: Wildlife Officials Hunt Poachers Who Shared Kills on Facebook
Chakkrit was called in Monday to explain to forestry higher-ups photos of rare and protected animals – all dead – he had posted in a private Facebook group. They rejected his explanation that a neighbor’s dogs had killed the animals and he had just happened to arrange them for photographs.
Anthapol Charoenchanya, a forestry conservation director, found photos from Chakkrit’s hunts – which included rare and protected animals such as jungle cats, mongooses and civets – Sunday on a Facebook page which launched a cyber-crusade on March 10 to expose illegal poachers.
Chakkrit told his superiors that he was off-duty harvesting rice when his neighbor’s dogs gave chase and killed an animal. Chakkrit said that upon approaching the animal’s carcass, they found two jungle cats, two mongooses and a chicken, all dead.
Cheewaphap Cheewathum, a forestry task force official, said Monday that the photos tell another story – of a man who loved to kill and eat the wildlife he was supposed to protect.
“As we can see from his Facebook posts, he has gone hunting many times and even invites his friends to go on the trips with him and eat the animals after,” Cheewaphap said. “There are pictures of him preparing the meat at each step as well.”
Chakkrit was not one of the eight people national parks officials said they were trying to link to other Facebook accounts used by suspected poachers.
“We’re still investigating and gathering information,” Siri Akka-akkara, director of the department’s Forest Protection and Fire Control Office Tuesday.
Chakkrit was identified by forestry officials from images he posted – that were later shared by the Queen of Spades page – using Facebook username “Black-Skinned Man in Black Clothes.”
“You’re supposed to use your guns to protect the animals, but instead you used them to kill. That’s not nice, it destroys the forest,” the Queen of Spades page admin wrote Monday after Chakkrit was sacked.