The WWF panda might not be so innocent. The international non-governmental organisation has recently been investigated, revealing its use of reprehensible methods. The news site BuzzFeed News accused the WWF of having financed, equipped, and worked with anti-poaching groups. They themselves are suspected of torture and murder.
The death of Shikharam Chaudhry
The WWF’s secret war is the title of the investigative report published by the Buzzfeed News website on March 4th. Journalists Tom Warren and Katie J.M. Baker recount the sinister fate of Shikharam Chaudhary, tortured to death by Nepali park guards in Chitwan. Suspected of having buried a rhinoceros horn in his garden (a horn which will never be found), the man died following the blows of his jailers after 11 days of incarceration.
Following this dark case, WWF's Nepal office, which works actively with the park team to eradicate poachers, did not rush to seek justice but tried to hide the case. When the Nepalese government decided in 2007 to drop charges against the guard presumed to be responsible for Chaudhary's death, the WWF declared it a victory for anti-poaching.
Numerous and overwhelming instances
‘The alleged murder of Shikharam in 2006 was not an isolated incident: it was part of a pattern that still persists today,’ the journalists write. The organisation continues to fund, equip and work in collaboration with paramilitary forces who have been accused of torture and violence, sexual assault and murder on multiple occasions.
As recently as 2017, park rangers in a WWF-funded park reportedly tortured an 11-year-old boy in front of his parents, Warren and Baker report. ‘Their village submitted a complaint to the WWF, but months later, the family claims they have not yet received a response.’
Revealing the shadows
BuzzFeed News has announced the publication of a series of articles, after a year of investigations conducted in 6 countries. Among the accusations against the WWF, the site lists the torture and killing of villagers by anti-poaching units funded by the WWF, the organisation of ‘punch’ missions openly allowing the killing of poachers, the financing and the purchase of weapons and equipment, and collaboration with informants with reprehensible practices.
WWF has launched an independent study led by human rights experts to review these accusations. ‘We consider it our responsibility to urgently check BuzzFeed's claims, and we recognise the importance of such an investigation,’ WWF told the site. While safeguarding animal life is a more crucial issue than ever before, it must never be addressed to the detriment of human rights.
Take a look at the video above for more details.