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POACHING: A New Mafia is Determined to Destroy Our Wildlife and Forests

paca

Paca

By Jack Ewing 

Years ago when I posted the first “NO HUNTING” signs on Hacienda Baru, the prohibition was aimed at neighbors who loved to hunt. Most of game in the parcels of forest left in the area had been killed, and the hacienda still had 180 hectares (445 acres,) of healthy rainforest that harbored lots of wildlife. This is where everybody came to hunt, and prohibiting hunting was definitely not the way to win a popularity contest. Of course, nobody paid the least bit of attention to my signs. We often found them shot full of holes or chopped to pieces with a machete. Eventually I decided to hire a guard, a local man named Alejandro, who knew the forest well. Though having a guard didn’t stop the hunting entirely, it helped a lot. Then one day a friend of Alejandro’s convinced him to look the other way for just one afternoon. “Your boss always goes to San Isidro on Thursdays,” he begged. “ I haven’t eaten paca meat for months. Just let me kill one paca, and I won’t bother you any more.” Alejandro relented and let his friend hunt, “just this one time.”

Hacienda Baru

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The Eternal Problem of Poaching

You Can Diminish It, But You Can’t Stop It Completely

By Jack Ewing

In February of 2003 I had the opportunity to visit the Sirena Biological Station located on the Pacific side of Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula. We met several University of Costa Rica biology students who were participating in. Dr. Eduardo Carillo’s long standing study of jaguars (Panthera onca) at Corcovado. They were searching for signs of the jaguar’s primary prey, the white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari,)  more commonly known as the wild pig. For an entire week they saw only the smaller collared-peccary (Pecari tajacu.)  When asked why the jaguars and their prey were suffering serious population reductions, the UCR students stated that poaching in Corcovado was out of control.
Hacienda Baru

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