Poaching Prevention in Africa
Anti Poaching Unit Training
Results of Snare Poaching
VIP Close Protection
ttws Anti Poaching Unit information pages
With the rising cost of
living, even on the African poverty line, and the greed and demand for bush
meat, ivory and rhino horn the threat to African wildlife is very real and
growing. The threat to some species is so great that some may become extinct
within the next few years. Poaching is the illegal killing of animals, usually
to eat or sell. Poaching is an enormous problem in Africa and other parts of the
world. More wild animals are disappearing year after year, and poaching is one
of the main contributing factors. There has been an ivory ban since 1989, with
the exception of ‘one off’ sales of confiscated ivory as has happened in October
2008 (the first since 1999). This may allow poached elephant tusks to be mingled
into the legal sales.
various effects, its most direct and destroying
is extinction, either globally or within a given locality
or country. Poaching
has also been associated with the spread of disease, both in animals and humans.
there were previously 100,000+ black rhino on the plains of Africa, there are
now less than 3000. Where there used to be 150,000-200,000 lion in the 1980’s
there are now 18,000-25,000 today. There was once 5-10 million elephant in the
1930’s; in 1989 there were around 600,000. One of the most endangered predators
in Africa the cape wild dog, which was known to roam in packs of 100+, today
they are in packs of around 10 with only 3,000-4,000 left, less than 60 on the
Serengeti. In 1900 there were 100,000+ cheetahs worldwide, today there are
10,000-15,000 worldwide, 10% of which are in captivity. Some reports will
indicate that Zimbabwe could have lost up to 80% of its wildlife.
poaching is caused by the desire for profit of some kind. The difference is the
scale of profit.
are three distinct types of poaching:
Subsistence poaching – for bottom line profit of food and basic survival
· Commercial poaching – for
mid level profit and food
· Trophy poaching – for vast profit
animals mainly for food, or to sell the animal either as a whole or in parts
such as skins, tails teeth etc for a small amount of money in order to buy food.
They are driven by poverty and hunger. This group of poachers mainly set out to
trap smaller animals - a wide variety of insect species rodents and birds
small-to-medium antelope such as duikers, gazelle, impala, dik-diks and bushbuck
and larger antelope such as lesser and greater kudu, eland also warthog and
other small and medium sized mammals such as porcupines and bush pigs.
group use poaching as a money-making venture. They are driven not by the need to
survive– but by a desire for financial gain. They work on a smaller scale to the
large organised trophy poachers. Commercial poachers tend to target most of the
species that are hunted by subsistence poachers and also, larger species - right
through to animals like Cape buffalo, white and black rhino and elephants
gain enormous profit through trading in endangered species. They are driven by
sheer greed. Both Commercial and trophy poaching exist because there is a
worldwide demand for the products. This demand is caused by lack of education
amongst the buyers. All forms of poaching continue to exist because there is an
inadequate preventative law against poaching and an inadequate programme to
control poaching. These people are the top end of the scale and are sometime
high profile people. A recent example of this occurred in South Africa where a
Vietnamese diplomat was recalled after she was filmed in an apparent illegal
purchase of a rhinoceros horn. It was filmed by a television team following
government investigators, they filmed a gang of apparent poachers meeting the
woman and handing the rhino horn to her. She was then filmed taking the rhino
horn inside the Vietnamese embassy in Pretoria in South Africa. It is said that
Vietnamese and other eastern and far eastern regions are heavily involved in the
illegal trade of rhino horns through syndicates.
trophy poachers are mainly targeting endangered species such as white and the
critically endangered black rhino, elephant, cheetah, lion, leopards, zebra,
and any other rare
and endangered species of mammal, reptiles, and birds.
than 40 rhinos are said to have been killed in South Africa this year. Reports
this year have indicated there is an increase in elephant poaching in all
countries. In Africa it has been reported that poaching has increased in key
areas and recent war zones in central and western Africa such as the Democratic
of Congo and Zimbabwe have become a haven for poachers. eBay has said it will
put a global ban of ivory products on its website after 4,000 illegal elephant
ivory products were found advertised on the site.
are various different methods of killing the animals these include:
shooting sometimes by heavily armed poachers
bow and arrow
poison, although this used this is mainly used on birds
Examples of some snares
These can be used for poaching targeted
animals, although any animal can be caught in these snares. This form of trap is
probably the most common and indiscriminate of all, causing the most suffering
to the wildlife.
Leg Hold Snares
These snares are simple, cheap and yet highly
effective. This method of hunting allows teams of hunters to set many snares per
day providing maximum coverage of an area in an effort to catch many animals
with very little financial cost, physical exertion or risk of being caught.
Professional poachers prefer heavy-duty cable since this minimizes lacerations
that would reduce the value of the skin. However, this type of cable requires a
substantial investment by poachers and financial constraints thus limit the
number of snares that can be set. Brake cable or heavy-duty nylon rope may also
be used; the advantage being that cheap materials allow for a large number of
snares to be set.
Body and Neck Snares
Two sticks are erected (as large as is deemed
necessary from a consideration of any identified spoor) on either side of a
path/track. A snare is then made using steel wire or cable. The snare is placed
between the two sticks and the end is connected to a solid flexible young tree
trunk, which serves as a spring. The tree is selected because of its strength
and flexibility. It must be small enough and flexible enough that it can be bent
over to act as a spring for the snare, yet big enough that it can hold the
partial weight of the 'victim' suspended in the air once the snare is sprung.
Setting the spring usually requires the help of
at least two other people to bend the tree over and set the trigger mechanism.
An animal walking along this trail would push the wire releasing the trigger.
This allows the tree to snap back to its upright position and draws the snare
tight around the neck or body of the animal. The tree in its upright position
keeps tension on the wire so that the snare does not loosen allowing the animal
to escape. The animals have little chance once caught in a snare. The snares are
set in many locations and the poachers are killing much more than they can
possibly eat. Anti-poaching patrols often come across large animals like buffalo
that have simply been left to rot in a snare. Poacher’s snares kill
indiscriminately often trapping valuable and endangered animals.
tourism is one of the great industries of Africa and brings in millions of US$
every year. Of the dozens of rhino species that once existed there are now only
five species left in the world and only two of these are left in Africa, the
white rhino and the black rhino. Some of the sub-species of these have become
extinct in the last few years and yet these are two of the key species that draw
wildlife tourists to the African continent.
Preventative anti poaching measures
Prevention should begin with a survey of any game reserve, whether private or
government owned, to assess the possibility of any ongoing or future poaching.
Once armed with these results and recommendations the reserve must act upon them
by enhancing their security and limiting the possibility of poaching at their
general public in Europe and the rest of the world are unaware of the true
extent of the poaching and the pain and suffering to the animals and the fact
that a few key species are under a huge threat of extinction. A large public
awareness program should be designed to bring the problem to the forefront or
public awareness use of the general press and television documentaries would
assist in this.
may be a requirement for point guarding close protection on critically
endangered animals such as the black rhino. These species bring in revenue for
the local community. This will also give much needed work and job creation
schemes to the local population but they will have to be trained by experienced
people and mentors. Courses aimed at training the trainers will also promote
Employing the local population will not only create work and money for the local
area but it will also enhance awareness of poaching and protection of their
environment, in turn creating more jobs by helping to prevent poaching.
Increased tourism will also provide employment with opportunities for not only
local animal guarding but also wildlife guiding of tourists, hospitality and the
growth of general commerce in the area.
Mentors should be put in
place to train and educate the local population
Regular anti poaching
patrols and smaller fast response units should be set up to provide a deterrent.
Working with the local
police units a central database for all poaching incidents in should be kept to
assist with any future incidents in any particular area.
A mobile training and
‘trouble shooting team’ for all reserves heavily poached areas and reserves with
critically endangered animals.
centrally controlled and government, or possibly world backed, organised force,
for anti poaching and conservation would be a strong move in the right
not only protect the valuable and delicate eco-system of Africa but bring
improvements in the form of employment, tourism and education to a community
that is in severe need. Enabling and empowering the indigenous peoples in their
countries reducing the incidences of poaching will have the added effect of
preventing warring factions using animals fund the purchase of weapons. This
will clearly be of benefit to all the population.
Some of the African Key Species located on the
The International Union for the Conservation of
Nature and Natural
Resources (IUCN) Red List
Black Rhino Lion
Cape Wild Dog
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