Gripping Docuseries Examines Shadowy World of Elephant Poaching in India

A new Amazon Original series is captivating worldwide audiences with a real-life look into the shadowy world of elephant poaching, ivory dealers and brokers, and the impact of this criminal activity on the long-term conservation of a species.

The series, titled Poacher, launched on February 23 with eight episodes and subtitles in 35 languages. Poacher brings to light the untold stories behind Operation Shikar,” a meticulously planned investigation that unfolded between 2015 and 2017. Based on real events, the investigation and arrests targeted suspected elephant poachers, ivory traders, carvers, and high-end ivory art dealers across various regions of India.

“The series captures the essence of actual events and presents it to the world without missing the beauty of the forests of western ghats, the ruthlessness and greed of hardened criminals, and the blood, sweat, and silent hard work of the people who sought to end the hunting,” said Jose Louies, CEO of the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).

The incidents primarily occurred in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, with connections to the Indian state of Karnataka. The investigation resulted in the recovery of 28 illegal guns suspected to be used in elephant poaching. Operation Shikar won the Prime Minister’s award in 2017 for outstanding protection efforts.

Integral to the success of Operation Shikar was the collaboration between WTI and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), providing technical and resource support at every stage of the case. The investigation led WTI and IFAW to initiate HAWK, a centralised intelligence management system in Kerala. 

Today, HAWK is fully operational, providing real-time information to officials about various wildlife crime-related incidents. As a result, no targeted poaching for ivory has been reported since 2015. Despite these preventive efforts, experts continue to fend against the persistent threat of cunning leaders re-establishing networks.

“It is vital we break down silos in the world of intelligence and security forces that may impede the swift sharing of information, ultimately deconstructing criminal networks and stopping crime before it occurs,” added IFAW President and CEO, Azzedine Downes. “The point is to protect elephants—not to protect the ivory after it’s already too late and the elephants have died.”

Poacher is a powerful narrative that underscores the tireless efforts to combat wildlife crime, showcasing both the triumphs and ongoing challenges in the fight for conservation.

Director Richie Mehta first had the idea for Poacher after noticing the amount of ivory in people’s homes while working on a Google-financed documentary nine years ago called India in a Day.

Poacher is available to watch in Australia on Amazon Prime. 


May 2024