It was at 3 a.m when I went to bed last night. I checked my phone to make sure my alarm was off. It was my off day so I could wake up anytime I want, couldn’t I? Unfortunately it wasn’t true. My phone rang this morning when I was dreaming about beach, sun, and sunbathing. An office lady asked for my legal document copies because police would check them today. I gave them the copies last month but they insisted couldn’t find it. So I went a long way to office, in the rain, only to submit a few pieces of paper work.
I was ready to go home when suddenly a big bus stopped in front of the office. Over 30 stern looking local men got off the bus, followed by a Western man and a lady. Bob, the Westerner, approached us and explained the purpose of their visit. He works for the UNODC and Freeland and both NGOs are giving training for local police, the 30 stern looking men, to fight wildlife crime. They wanted me to explain to the police officers about animal handling and necessary animal care for confiscated animals at the border. The young lady would be my interpreter. But why? Why it had to be today? Whyyy? It’s my off day, please just let me rest after a long hard week at work 😦
But who can’t resist educating people to help animals? Moreover, they are police officers who work at the country’s borders to confiscate illegal wildlife. Improper care can lead to death of the animals. So… Yeah… To be honest, a part of me hate myself when I agreed to give the training.
I started by explaining the very basic of animal care, followed by specific requirements for mostly confiscated animals. As I expected, the most common animal they confiscate is pangolin. Pangolin is now listed as Critically Endangered by IUCN redlist, which is only one step away from Extinct In The Wild. This is a very sad truth about wildlife trade. Tonnes of both alive and dead pangolins are exported to China for medicine and human consumption. Most of us don’t even know what a pangolin is or how it looks like.
I ended the training by walking around the rescue center, telling them how to properly handle each animal and what the safety precautions are. Most of them were more interested in taking selfies with animals but out of the 30 officers I know some of them are interested in making difference for wildlife.