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Most conservationists agree that if we allow the poaching and human/animal conflict to continue at this rate, we will lose Africa's most endangered animals (elephants, rhino, cheetah, pangolin, leopards, giraffe, lions) in less than 8 years!
Unfortunately, there isn't one "cure all" that ends poaching. Here are some facts:
- There is wide spread poverty in many of the poaching zones.
- The kingpins and crime syndicates use this fact to enlist desperate men on the ground in Africa to guide them to the animals.
- Terrorism: Poaching is a $70 billion+ a year industry. Thanks to the undercover work our friends at EAL performed last year, the profits from poaching have been traced back to several terrorist organizations.
- The crime syndicates responsible for poaching area also involved in smuggling contraband across borders, such as animal parts, drugs & human trafficking. They are all inter-related.
- If we don't tackle poaching at its root cause, which will protect these innocent animals from extinction, then we are, in essence, enabling terrorism to thrive.
- To tackle poaching, several initiatives have to work in conjunction with each other - this includes game reserves working together and sharing information about wildlife crime, transporting elephants and rhino to safer zones or countries, de-horning rhinos and microchipping ivory, training and equipping rangers in the most up to date techniques to spot poachers before they reach the animals.
- It's camera carrying drones flying over vast regions to track and report on migrating herds, adding more secure fencing. Working within the communities to engage locals to participate in animal safety and to offset any damage these animals do to their crops, livestock and property. It's using tighter security measures with the latest technology. Medics on the ground to triage the victims of poaching crimes and rehabilitate them, and equally as important, employing undercover intelligence workers to report to authorities when they hear about plans for poaching and corruption.
- We need tighter legislation to protect the animals and to prosecute the criminals. There are programs in place right now that we don't even know about thanks to the formation of "Wildleaks," - a completely anonymous tip line for anyone with knowledge of wildlife crime to report to and to do so, safely.
- Wildleaks was founded by Over and Above Africa's Advisory Board member, Andrea Crosta - (the Ivory Game) they use informants, intelligence gathering operatives with years of undercover work behind them and leagues of courage to battle this crisis. These programs lead to the capture of kingpins and bring down crime syndicates - basically hitting the poaching war from all angles, using everything we know that works.