Report: WWF hires paramilitary torturers and murderers in developing world

A Buzzfeed investigation exposes the World Wildlife Fund's funding of torture, murder and paramilitary violence, which it claims is necessary to stop poaching.

Shikharam was in too much pain to swallow. He crawled toward Hira, his thin body covered in bruises, and told her through sobs that forest rangers were torturing him. “They beat him mercilessly and put saltwater in his nose and mouth,” Hira later told police.

The rangers believed that Shikharam helped his son bury a rhinoceros horn in his backyard. They couldn’t find the horn, but they threw Shikharam in their jail anyway, court documents filed by the prosecution show.

Nine days later, he was dead. ... WWF’s staff on the ground in Nepal leaped into action — not to demand justice, but to lobby for the charges to disappear. When the Nepalese government dropped the case months later, the charity declared it a victory in the fight against poaching. Then WWF Nepal continued to work closely with the rangers and fund the park as if nothing had happened.

As for the rangers who were charged in connection with Shikharam’s death, WWF Nepal later hired one of them to work for the charity.

The WWF released a press release boasting that Shikhamam Chaudhari's killing sent a message to poachers.

“WWF welcomes the government’s decision,” said Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF Nepal. “I have every confidence that this move will renew the motivation of park staff and other conservationists to save Nepal’s rhinos and root out illegal wildlife trade. WWF will always be there to support this endeavor in any way we can.”

People joke, they say "nothing's sacred any more!", but nothing was ever sacred—least of all international NGOs, which live in moral worlds of their own devising. Buzzfeed says it has a lot more coming this week about the WWF "anti-poaching units":

Villagers have been whipped with belts, attacked with machetes, beaten unconscious with bamboo sticks, sexually assaulted, shot, and murdered ...

The charity’s field staff in Asia and Africa ... signed off on a proposal to kill trespassers penned by a park director who presided over the killings of dozens of people.

WWF has provided paramilitary forces with salaries, training, and supplies — including knives, night vision binoculars, riot gear, and batons — and funded raids on villages. ...

Embroiled itself in a botched arms deal to buy assault rifles from a brutal army that has paraded the streets with the severed heads of alleged “criminals.”

The charity has operated like a global spymaster, organizing, financing, and running dangerous and secretive networks of informants motivated by “fear” and “revenge,” including within indigenous communities, to provide park officials with intelligence — all while publicly denying working with informants.