The critical need for us to step in now before these beautiful animals are gone from our planet forever has never been greater. 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 9 years!
Below we highlight some of the components of the poaching crisis and how human/animal conflict and poverty are central to this epidemic. We're already working on funding initiatives that will help eliminate some of the poverty in the poaching zone regions that drive individuals to enable poaching, wildlife trafficking and the crime syndicates to thrive - we are excited to bring these initiatives to you to fund over the coming months (stay tuned for Ponix - coming soon!).
Many people around the world are unaware that profits from the $14 billion a year poaching industry fund terrorism, drug trafficking and human trafficking. If we don't tackle poaching at its root cause, then we will have to deal with the repercussions of it as it plays out around the world as a driving force that funds terrorists and terrorism. It's that simple.
After successfully funding our "Boots-for-Rangers" campaign, we are now working on new initiatives, one that focuses on ranger training by military vets returning from places like Iraq and Afghanistan with The Sparta Project and Damien Mander's IAPF. We are helping to fund cutting edge veterinarian procedures that Dr Johan Marais & Dr Will Fowlds have to perform, and which sometimes saves animals left behind and badly injured by poachers. We'll also continue to raise funds for proven facilities that care for, rehabilitate and release orphaned rhino babies and elephant calves back into the wild. Rhino babies and elephant calves need their moms more than most young animals, and it's particularly difficult to rehabilitate them after such traumatizing attacks, but it is possible.
There is no one single solution to end poaching. We can't iterate that enough. To tackle poaching, several initiatives have to work in conjunction with each other - this includes game reserves working with each other and sharing information about wildlife crime, transporting elephants and rhino to safer countries, de-horning rhinos and microchipping ivory, well-equipped and well-trained rangers out in the field, drones flying over vast regions that track and report on migrating herds, stronger fencing, community engagement to offset damage animals to do crops, livestock and property, tighter security measures using the latest in technology, triage on the ground to save those that can be saved and rehabilitate them, and most importantly, the undercover intelligence work along with overt efforts too. Legislation to protect the animals and prosecute the criminals. There are programs we don't even know about that thanks to organizations such as, "Wildleaks," founded by Over and Above Africa's Advisory Board member, Andrea Crosta - using informants, intelligence gathering and years of undercover work which ultimately lead to the capture of kingpins and crime syndicates - basically hitting the poaching crisis from all angles, using everything we know that works.