Sabz Press, a green Iranian news site, is reporting that a warden working in the protected wildlife area of Lawvardin in Hormozgan province has been ordered to pay blood money to a poacher he shot in the foot. Al Zare’, who is better known as Bagher (not pictured above), had an altercation with the poacher who was trespassing in the protected region.
The court decided that he should pay double the blood money as there was an entry and exit wound in his foot. Thankfully, wardens from across the country rallied to support Bagher and were able to raise the money needed to secure his release. However, whilst this support of the warden is fantastic to see, I can’t help but wonder why he was asked to pay it in the first place?
It seems that those on the frontline duty of protecting nature do not get the support that they need in Iran (or Morocco for that matter). If a policeman fired at a perpetrator during the line of duty, would he or she be expected to pay blood money to them? No.
Indeed, there have even been cases where wardens were shot at by poachers and when/if they returned fire they were still judged to be guilty and liable for blood money. Sabz Press reports that they know of at least one case where the game warden is in jail waiting to be executed for fatally shooting a poacher.
There clearly needs to a balance to ensure both sides are protected but that doesn’t seem to be there at the moment. Instead it appears that poachers – the ones engaging in the real criminal activity – enjoy greater legal protection than those employed to protect wildlife reserves against them. This just goes to show how little value or consideration is given to Iranians struggling to protect their precious wildlife.
That fellow wardens donated to help secure Bagher’s release is one positive side to this story. From the google translate information we gathered and our basic calculations, it seems that the blood money amounted to around $40,000 (50 million toucans). As one commentator put it, “considering that the average warden gets a monthly salary of about $350 this is quite extraordinary.”
: Image of Iranian man in forest via Bahadorjn/flickr.
For more on Iran and nature see: