The recent capture of a notorious poacher has given hope to officials in Chad battling to save the African elephant from extinction.
The call came in to Gary Roberts last March at his home in Béré, a village of subsistence farmers deep in the sorghum and cotton fields of southern Chad. Reports were circulating, a local conservationist told him, that a mass killing of elephants had occurred some 100 miles away, near the Cameroon border: Could Roberts see what he could find out?
At Kruger National Park in South Africa, the economy drives rangers to hunt poachers and poachers to hunt for horn.
Vusi Nyathi went to the bush for rhinos. Not to watch them like some tourist, though. He went for a payday, about $5,000, more than he could make in a lifetime in the small village in Mozambique where he grew up. Vusi Nyathi went to poach rhinos. He returned in a body bag of thick black plastic.
Kumba doesn’t like the sound of men’s voices. A masculine tone makes him wary, causing him to take a step away from the green iron bars of his enclosure.
He much prefers manager Gaby Benavides and the other female staff members at the Rhino Orphanage in South Africa. Kumba will come closer when they approach, anticipating a feeding or a walk, and when he’s left behind in his enclosure, he bleats plaintively, a sound that’s endearingly like a cross between a rubber squeak and a kazoo.
He’s a bit of a mama’s boy, which is understandable when you consider that only a few weeks ago, his mother was killed by poachers, who hacked off her horns and left her bleeding in the grass.
As a photojournalist, Kate Brooks was used to documenting war zones. Then she discovered a new kind of genocide – the killing of Africa’s elephants.
Over the past few years, the slaughter of African elephants and rhinoceros has skyrocketed to supply international markets with their tusks and horns. Some experts say 35,000 elephants are being killed per year, others believe the number is as high as 50,000.
Bringing together heads of state and government ministers from 50 countries, Thursday’s high-level summit on illegal wildlife trade may represent a turning point in the fight against wildlife crime.
The London summit—hosted by the British government and led by Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague, and Environment Secretary Owen Paterson—focuses on securing specific actions around elephants, rhinos, and tigers.