The “war for wildlife” is becoming increasingly deadly, with up to 1,500 park rangers killed protecting megafauna such as rhinoceros and elephants in the last five years, i can reveal.
Huge amounts of money can be made from killing animals for their ivory or other body parts in Africa and Asia.
The resulting pressure put on poachers by organised criminal gangs is leading to increasingly desperate violent confrontations and an arms race between the hunters and those who protect wildlife.
Poachers are killing 40,000 elephants a year and with a global elephant population of just 400,000, it doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that there is an urgent need to stop the killing.
But it’s hard to catch poachers in the act. They operate over a wide area, move just a few elephant tusks at a time and once their ivory contraband reaches a major port, it can be easily hidden among other goods, said Samuel Wasser, director of the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington.