Tiger, photographer and local government officials

From China Daily, a story about tiger, photographer and local government officials:

Recently, a photographer was sent to the jail because of a fake photo he provided last year. Southern tigers are widely believed to be extinct in the wild. Many experts believe it is the ancestor of all tigers. The photographer, Zhenglong Zhou claimed he photographed the endangered South China tiger with a digital camera on the afternoon of October 3, 2007. The Shan’xi Provincial Forestry Department rewarded him 20,000 Yuan ($2,915).

After he released those photos, some observers accused Zhou of making the images with digital software and the local government supporting Zhou just to bolster tourism. If the photo proved to be authentic, the local government stood to gain a 10-million-yuan fund from the Chinese government for their efforts in protecting endangered species. After a year-long investigation, police said the photo was fake and 13 local officials were punished for involvement in the scandal.

An important lesson to reflect on.  Governments world-over can encourage bad behavior through even the best of intentions.