How will the rhino/elephant slaughter in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Kenya be stopped?

Answer by Rory Young:

There needs to be a convergence of several factors.

The first is political will. If the leadership  of a country is not prepared to do whatever it reasonably can to bring it under control then it will very likely be a losing battle. The government is obviously the most powerful organization in any country, able to mobilize resources and services,  to educate and motivate the population and to enact laws and penalties. This is the single most important factor. Malawi, where Chengeta Wildlife is funding training, is determined to win. The new government there is quickly trying to do whatever it can to deal with the poaching crisis.

The second is resources. Elephant and rhino poachers are earning big money and are well equipped and motivated by large sums of cash. They have usually come from a background in an armed service and are expereinced. They are actively trying not to be captured or killed and therefore the rangers who pursue them have to be even better equipped and trained, with ample fuel and rations to get to where they need to be at the right time. Unfortunately, resources are lacking almost everywhere. I have worked with dedicated rangers in the past who went barefoot, had no packs, waterbottles or other equipment and minimal or  no rations. Many are not even paid. Even with the most dedicated men only so much can be done without the right equipment. In the case of Malawi, it is one of the world's poorest countries. They simply do not have money to spend. They need financial assistance in this from other, wealthier, nations.

The third is doctrine. Unless the department and its rangers know how to take down whole syndicates, at every step of the poaching process, even with the political will and with excellent resources allocated, it will be difficult to win. They have to have strategies, knowledge, training and procedures that are harmonized from the man on the ground all the way up to the top commander and in cooperation with other agencies. The Malawians have partnered with Lion Alert and Chengeta Wildlife to get the most pragmatic and effective training possible done as quickly.

Ideally, political will, sufficient resources and an effective and intelligent doctrine are needed. I have yet to see that happening anywhere..

How will the rhino/elephant slaughter in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Kenya be stopped?

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