Social and Economic Situation

With the rising cost of living, even on the African poverty line, and the greed and demand for bush meat, ivory and rhino horn, the threat to African wildlife is very real and growing strongly. The threat to some species is so great that they may become extinct within the next few years.
Poaching is the illegal killing of animals, usually to eat or sell. Poaching is an enormous problem in Africa and other parts of the world. Many more wild animals are disappearing year after year, and poaching is one of the main contributing factors. There has been an ivory ban since 1989, with the exception of “one off” sales of confiscated ivory as happened in October 2008 (the first since 1999). This may allow poached elephant tusks to be mingled into the legal sales. Poaching can have various effects, the most direct and destroying is extinction, either globally or within a given locality or country. Poaching has also been associated with the spread of disease, both in animals and humans.

Reasons for Poaching

All poaching is caused by the desire for profit of some kind. The difference is the scale of profit.

Poaching Types

There are three distinct types of poaching:

  • Subsistence poaching – for bottom line profit of food and basic survival
  • Trophy poaching– for mid to high level profit
  • Speculative poaching – for vast profit

Subsistence Poachers
Take animals mainly for food, or to sell the animal either as a whole or in parts such as skins, tails, teeth etc. for a small amount of money in order to buy food. They are driven by poverty and hunger. This group of poachers mainly set out to trap smaller animals - a wide variety of insect species, rodents, birds, small-to-medium antelope such as duikers, gazelle, impala, dik-diks and bushbuck and larger antelope such as lesser and greater kudu, eland also warthog and other small and medium sized mammals such as porcupines and bush pigs. Avoiding this kind of poaching is impossible and the scale of these activities is not strongly impacting in the wildlife biodiversity.

Trophy Poachers
Aim to gain profit through trading in endangered species. They are driven by sheer greed. Both speculative and trophy poaching exist because there is a worldwide demand for the products. This demand is caused by lack of education amongst the buyers. All forms of poaching continue to exist because there is an inadequate preventative law against poaching and an inadequate program to control poaching.
These trophy poachers are mainly targeting endangered species such as white rhino and the critically endangered black rhino, elephant, cheetah, lion, leopards, zebra, antelope and any other rare and endangered species of mammal, reptiles, and birds. Because of the money involved this kind of poaching is very aggressive on the wildlife biodiversity and is also creating a lot of threats to the local guards, park wardens and game rangers.

Speculative Poachers
This group use poaching as a money-making venture. They are driven not by the need to survive– but by a desire for financial gain. They work on a smaller scale to the large organised poachers syndicates. Speculative poachers tend to target most of the species that are hunted by subsistence poachers and also, larger species - right through to animals such as the cape buffalo, white and black rhino and elephants. This kind of poaching is very aggressive on the wildlife biodiversity and is also creating a lot of threats to the local guards, park wardens and game rangers.

There are two different speculative poaching:
1. killing animals and selling part of them.
2. Killing animals to protect valuable like livestock and crops.

Sometimes these poaching squads are heavily armed, trained and with no fear of legislation, ethics and anti poaching units. The poaching syndicates are foraged by people that are the top end of the scale and are sometime high profile people. A recent example of this occurred in South Africa where a Vietnamese diplomat was recalled after she was filmed in an apparent illegal purchase of a rhinoceros horn. It was filmed by a television team following government investigators, they filmed a gang of apparent poachers meeting the woman and handing the rhino horn to her. She was then filmed taking the rhino horn inside the Vietnamese embassy in Pretoria in South Africa. It is said that Vietnamese and other eastern and far eastern regions are heavily involved in the illegal trade of rhino horns through syndicates.

Targeted Animals from Speculative Poachers.

Rhinos, elephants, lions and leopards are targeted animals. Our flagship animal is the rhino, the specie that suffered incredible rise in number of poaching:

Methods of poaching

There are various different methods of killing the animals these include:
  • shooting sometimes by heavily armed poachers
  • bow and arrow
  • spears
  • pitfalls
  • net traps
  • snares
  • dogs
  • poison, although this used this is mainly used on birds

In order to stop all this a group of professional security operators and experts in African nature fields have joint and created the Poaching Prevention Academy. Our goal is to stop poachers and in order to do this we have created a 3 phases strategy. The first of 3 will be discussed in this web site.
Training local units in order to create a strong deterrenvy action against poaching syndicates. Our Poaching Prevention Training focuses on SUT – Small Unit Tactics.

Our trainers background are strongly linked to conservation and to professional tactical training. The course will cover the following criteria and subjects:

  • First Aid – from basic to trauma
  • Field craft -Camouflage and concealment. Living and working in the field.
  • Patrolling - Strategy in relation to locating, apprehending, arresting and processing of suspects.
  • Patrolling techniques: column, line wedge and modified techniques.
  • Weapon training from basic to advance – Basic to advance firing, contact drills, weapons handling and patrolling safely with rifles (port and ready stances).
  • Communications and radio procedures.
  • From static observation posts (OP’s) to reactive OP’s.
  • Setting up maintaining and living in OP’s.
  • Surveillance and reporting on known or suspected poachers.
  • Background in status, ecology, behaviour and habitats of the reserve wildlife.
  • Survey and monitoring techniques for priority and threatened species.
  • Live drills and force on force techniques.
  • Vehicle searching.
  • Manning of gates.
  • General security.
  • Techniques of navigation in the field – Acquiring your position using Global Positioning System, use of a compass and map and accurate position plotting and reporting.
  • Survival - Living in the field, finding shelter, food and water.
  • Finding your way using Celestial navigation and use of the sun.

Course day-by-day outline:

Day 1/2:
Basic field first aid, the use of the tourniquet and Israeli bandage to stop blood loss associated with gunshot wounds.

Day 3/4:
Equipment explanation including use of webbing and where magazines, first aid equipment and none vital goods should be placed in the webbing.
How to hold and move with a semi automatic/full automatic rifle/shotgun.
Basic movements with rifles – kneeling, moving, looking left and looking right.
Different modes of carrying the rifle depending on the state of alert.
Weapons Safety.

Day 5:

Practice of movements learnt on day 3 and 4, plus learning how to go to ground and to roll left and right with rifles as well as looking back and forward from lying position.
Lots and lots of practice of all movements learnt from day 3 and 4.
Individual shooting drills, involving movement and shooting from different positions.
Weapons Safety

Day 6:
Repetition of movement drills from day 3 to day 5.
Shooting drills again on an individual basis focused on running and taking cover and shooting from lying, kneeling and standing position.
Patrols were done in teams of two practicing movements.

Day 7:
Short repetition of movements learnt through days 3 to 6.
Focus on day 7 is how to react after a contact is made. Focus on two movements, the first being offensive and the second being defensive. Moving as a team off two with live fire.
Basic hand signals were learnt.

Day 8:
How to search a vehicle.
Arrest techniques were covered as well as securing the arrested.
Hand to Hand combat.

We have been working in different African countries such as South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Kenya. We are currently involved in the training and support of 6 Anti Poaching Units.

Poaching Prevention Academy master trainers Davide Bomben and Roger Wake.