THA BAK, Laos — He was up there somewhere, at the top of the hill, the man Karl Ammann had come to see. It would soon be night. The forest was all shadows and sounds. Ammann had driven across the country to reach this remote river village, and now he was finally here, looking to the top of the hill, ready to confront the person he believed had murdered more tigers than anyone in Laos. In the distance, he could hear them: dozens of tigers roaring.
300 MILES CHINA MYANMAR LAOS Vientiane THAILAND CAMBODIA Gulf of Thailand
For nearly five years, Ammann, 70, a Swiss counter-trafficking conservationist, had tracked the tiger butcher, a man named Nikhom Keovised. He had placed hidden cameras inside what had once been the largest tiger farm in Southeast Asia, an illegal operation where tigers had been raised to one end — slaughter — and where the man doing the slaughtering had been Nikhom. And he had listened to Nikhom describe it all in his own words: “Use the anesthetic,” he had said. “Then just cut the neck.” Then “peel its skin.”
Now Nikhom had established himself here, in this half-splash of civilization near the Vietnam border, where he’d just opened what his boss — considered one of the nation’s biggest wildlife traffickers — described as a zoo, but what Ammann suspected was a front for selling tigers.
voir article ICI