Shoot to kill?

Since 2007, rhino poaching has intensified and poaching gangs have become more sophisticated in their operations – and the weapons they use. In response, rhino conservationists have invested in improving security, training and anti-poaching equipment – including firearms – for rangers on the ground. Often dubbed an “arms race”, the perceived “militarisation of conservation” has attracted support from many, but also caused concern. In the pursuit of protecting rhinos, are human rights are being compromised? Could communities sharing rhino habitat become, quite literally, caught in the cross-fire?

Shoot to kill is one of the most controversial issues facing rhino conservation

Save the Rhino’s position, and the policy adopted by the programmes to which we make grants, is that shoot-to-kill should only be used as a last alternative and in self-defence. Anti-poaching rangers must do all they can to avoid killing a poacher. In the event of contact made between a ranger and a poacher, it would be much more beneficial if the poacher were to be caught and arrested, giving the opportunity to recover valuable information about who has commissioned them, the supply chain and likely smuggling routes. If poachers refuses to throw down their weapons but raise them against rangers, then rangers may fire. Sadly, there will always be the chance that lives may be lost in this exchange.

The militarisation of conservation

Many anti-poaching and monitoring staff protecting rhinos are armed, but a surprising number lack even basic, good quality equipment like good boots or overnight tents, let alone top-range weapons. Rangers working in national parks or game reserves are usually licensed to carry and use weapons, while those protecting rhinos and other wildlife in conservancies (private or community-owned) are often not. Even then, there can be a huge disparity between the training and provisions for rangers in one country to the next, or even between one nation’s wildlife areas. It’s a tough ask to face a poaching gang if all you are carrying is a torch, a phone and a GPS. As the poaching threat has increased, some rhino owners are applying for Police Reservist status, which would allow named individuals to bear arms; others have come to arrangements with local police forces or the relevant government department to carry out joint patrols.

In Kaziranga National Park in the state of Assam, India, Forest Guards (the equivalent of rangers) were given the right to use firearms in July 2010 and protected under section 197 of the CrPC, which provides them conditional immunity from court proceedings if they are to kill or injure somebody in the line of duty. The issue of indemnity for armed wildlife guards is an important one, as rangers can risk being caught up in lengthy court cases and even prison, while acting in the line of duty. A contact between armed poachers, who resisted arrest, and rangers in uMkhuze Game Reserve on Christmas Day 2014 led to three rangers being arrested and imprisoned until they were let out on bail several days later.

The case of Kaziranga

Kaziranga is home to around two thirds of Asia’s population of Greater one-horned rhinos. The species has made a remarkable come-back from an all-time population low of just 200 animals and now numbers over 3,000 individuals. As a result, the Park is viewed as one of rhino conservation’s biggest success stories. One factor in this success is the commitment shown by the Indian government in protecting the largescale ecosystem – including expanding rhino habitat and securing the Park’s borders. This means that entering the Park without prior permission is illegal for communities living nearby. And as the Park has expanded, entire villages have been relocated, including by force, when the scheme was met with resistance.

But the Assam Government’s hard-line policy has caused concern amongst conservation organisations, the general public and other NGOs. In particular, the lobbying group Survival International, has been particularly vocal in its campaign to encourage the Indian government to rethink its stance. In the recent past, the Assam Government’s position also caused the BBC to cancel donations to conservation work in Kaziranga via its now-defunct Wildlife Fund, for fear of a public outcry.

Greater one horned rhino -Credit SRITensions reached a head in July 2015, when seven year old Akash Orang, living in a village near the Park, was shot in the leg by rangers; causing a life-altering injury. The incident occurred while rangers were trying to move a rhino which had strayed out of the Park away from a village. Soon after, the BBC visited the Park to film a short news feature on the case which generated headlines, controversially describing Kaziranga as “the park that shoots people to protect rhinos”. Another case investigated by the BBC’s team was the death of Gaonburah Kealing, a man whose family said he had learning difficulties. Goanburah was understood to have strayed into the Park accidentally, and was subsequently shot. The Park authorities said he failed to respond to a warning.

Allegations of torture of suspects arrested by the Park’s rangers, and corruption by rangers involved in poaching themselves, have also continued to surface and provided much of the focus in the BBC investigation. The Indian government responded by banning the BBC from filming in any of its tiger reserves for five years, claiming that the BBC had not fully briefed them about the content of the film, and accused the journalists of biased reporting.

Events in Kaziranga attracted a lot of publicity and ignited fierce debate. Had conservationists gone too far and tacitly supported indiscriminate attacks? Clearly, in both cases outlined above, rangers made tragic mistakes and the Park should take steps to ensure it never happens again. It goes without saying that any claims of torture, corruption, and other illegal activities should be thoroughly investigated and perpetrators held to account. The Indian government’s offer of rewards for injured poachers is also highly controversial. However, in the media storm which ensued, certain factors have been less well interrogated.

Community conservation

Families like Goanburah Keeling’s, living near protected wildlife areas in India and other countries, may have genuine and very understandable concerns about their rights to land. They may feel that they are not responsible for poaching, the global illegal wildlife trade, and the consumer demand which drives it. But it is also untrue to claim that every villager living near Kaziranga National Park, or any other wildlife haven, lives in isolation from the destructive forces driving poaching.

CommunityEducation c SRIKaziranga’s rangers are operating near heavily armed militia and political groups, poaching syndicates and agricultural villages – sections of society which can, and do, overlap. The government, and other actors, may scapegoat different groups for partisan reasons, all the while making the picture even murkier. As this one example in India shows, broad-brush descriptions that pit villagers against rangers can risk over-simplifying a complex political backdrop, and in turn fail to truly illustrate the daily dangers faced by rangers protecting rhinos.

However, we can be emphatic in saying that conservation needs community support. Creating a consensus on the value of protecting rhinos in the wild is vital if people living near wildlife are to feel invested in the future of endangered species. Nepal has shown leadership in rhino conservation and community support. To date, the country has almost entirely stamped out rhino poaching with just one incident in three years. Across Asia and Africa, here are examples of practical ways we at Save the Rhino are make sure that protecting wildlife also benefits people, too.

Ranger fatalities

Protecting rhinos endangers lives – and many of these lives belong to rangers patrolling on the frontline. According to the International Ranger Federation, at least 1,000 rangers have died in the line of duty in a decade, with many more unreported casualties. In 2015 alone, 42% of ranger deaths were due to attacks by poachers, compared to the 17% killed by wild animals. In Asia, the vast majority of wildlife ranger fatalities occur in India. This stark figure doesn’t include the scores of rangers living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental health conditions, as well routine physical scars.

Big Life Foundation and Kenya Wildlife Service rangers work together to protect the areas wildlife

Whether a ranger is a government employee, recruited by a wildlife conservancy or working for a private land owner, their job is still hugely dangerous. Often, rangers are recruited from communities living on the boundaries of protected habitats. Another line of work open to them could have been poaching – and they will often face pressure and intimidation from poaching gangs to reveal information. Many rangers, despite being government employees, are not covered by long-term health, disability or life insurance. When a ranger is killed or seriously injured, their family is often left without a breadwinner. But regardless of these dangers, perhaps the most fundamental question to ask is whether shoot-to-kill is ethically justified?

The ethics of killing

At Save the Rhino, we don’t feel qualified to debate the morality of taking a human life. We’re not a lobbying organisation, and we have no influence or control over how governments chose to impose their laws. But we don’t believe that injuring or killing poachers is something to be taken lightly.

Worryingly, as poaching has escalated, so too have the unpalatable suggestions we receive on social media, via our website, or even in emails to our staff, about how to tackle poaching. Some comments are particularly graphic and call for sickening “eye for an eye” style punishments. Are people venting their anger and anonymously sharing views in cyber space that they don’t really mean? Or have people’s attitudes hardened as the poaching crisis has deepened?

A poacher is apprehended with confiscated ivoryThe highly organised nature of poaching syndicates means that the poacher ‘on the ground’ is doing the dirty work, but somewhere much higher up the chain is a criminal gang-leader who is, very literally, calling the shots.

Killing a poacher will achieve very little in terms of reducing the number of poaching incidents; at best it can only provide a temporary deterrent, or move gangs onto targets perceived as softer. Syndicates can easily find another person willing to take the risk and shoot a rhino.

In South Africa’s Kruger National Park, by 2013 as many as 80% of poaching incidents were attributed to poachers crossing the porous border from Mozambique. Julian Rademeyer writes about the “poaching villages” that have cropped up around the region where “there is deep-seated anger at the deaths and arrests of suspected poachers.” The father of one dead poacher he meets asks, “Why was an animal’s life worth more than my son’s?” In such a poor area, poaching can seem an attractive means by which to put food on the table.

Convicting poachers

Perhaps a more important question to ask is why we hear so much about poacher deaths, and not enough about prosecutions? In South Africa, a total of 680 alleged poachers and traffickers were arrested for rhino-related poaching offences in 2016, more than double the year before. But of these how many will actually end up being sentenced?

The disparity between sentencing in different countries is great. The law in many countries does not assign long prison sentences to wildlife crime. Botswana’s environment minister, Tshekedi Khama, said in a 2013 interview that would-be poachers needed to know that they might not go home alive, and would be shot even if they surrendered. In Zambia, possession of rhino horn or a conviction of poaching can receive a sentence of 20 years. In Zimbabwe, a men was jailed for eight years for attempting to sell a fake rhino horn. And until Kenya’s wildlife laws were updated recently, penalties for poaching were simply fines that had not risen in to keep pace with the rewards on offer for rhino horn or elephant ivory.

Credit Save the Rhino TrustEven where tough laws do exist, for a criminal case, it can be difficult to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that a poacher is guilty. To do so requires DNA analysis linking the rhino carcass, the horn and the poacher. Too often, the expertise or evidence is not available for this type of sophisticated analysis. Even in South Africa, where this facility is available, many poachers are currently awaiting trial dates, and appeals have been sent out for more evidence from the public to complete these prosecutions. If a poacher is apprehended before an attack – the ideal scenario, as it means that no rhino was killed – then the charges available to prosecutors are for less serious crimes, such as possession of an unlicensed weapon or armed trespass.

There is general frustration about the prosecution of rhino poachers. It is important to build the political will to ensure that prison sentences are given. Time and time again, poachers are awarded bail and abscond, or are acquitted at trial. If this is the case, then legal measures to crack down on poaching are not working. Poachers who do not receive a prison sentence are free to return to national parks and poach more rhino. In Namibia, the government is exploring the option of forcibly deporting any foreign national arrested for wildlife crimes, in an effort to prevent repeat offences.

As always, shoot-to-kill is not a one-size-fits-all solution to the poaching crisis, even if the concerns about such a policy can be overcome. If poachers keep coming, rangers need to have the training and resources to make arrests, secure the crime scene, and feel confident that the laws are in place to convict the kingpins running the illicit trade.

In parallel, if we can secure rhino habitat and continue to challenge consumer’s motivations for buying horn in the first place, we stand the best chance possible of turning back the tide on rhino poaching. For more information on our work with rangers, visit here.

Must-reads

Grasslands of Grey are two very well-researched essays on the challenges and successes of conservation in Kaziranga National Park, which take a balanced view on the BBC’s research and the Indian government’s policies:

Julian Rademeyer’s Tipping Point examines who is driving the illegal rhino horn trade, taking a look at who is poaching, and how well African states are responding to this threat.

Photo credits: Tony Fitzjohn, Steve Robbins, Save the Rhino Trust, Big Life Foundation,

151 thoughts on “Shoot to kill?

  1. After watching Battleground: Rhino Wars on Animal Planet, I was curious to the punishment received when caught poaching. It is horrible to see most get let go with a slap on the wrist and return to poach again. If they are caught poaching they should be shot, period! What makes humans so fricking important compared to other living things. The human race is the biggest parasite ever to live on earth.There are too many idiots in this world. If everyone had the opinion of most posters commenting here, the world would be a much better place. Too bad animals can’t poach stupid humans.

  2. The charge is genocide, and the penalty…. you know what it is

    Shame on all corrupted judges and officials they should also be punished

  3. I’m doing a project on anti poaching efforts and I have to say I would rather die than be forced to poach, even with all the monney they get out of it!

  4. Of course it’s right to shoot to kill. There are billions of humans on this planet, but less than 17,000 white rhinos left, and 3,000 black rhinos (these are the 2 African species.) What does it matter if a few more humans fall to a gun if they were doing wrong? I’m sorry, but the rhinos have to take priority in this instance. That being said, guards should not shoot to kill without reason, but in general, humanity has had its era of selfishness and domination. Now, as we realize just what harm we have inflicted upon the world, we absolutely need to do all we can to restore order, even if that means killing our own in the process.

  5. I have unfortunately READ all your ANGry COMMENTS concerning Poachers, GREAT!! So may someone please tell Me WHY are we all upset with RHINO POACHERS? these poachers live on $2 a day (as SAD as it is, i can understand their temptation where they have families to feed.) If a SNAKE BItes You on a repeditive basis Do you keep chopping off itsTAIL? of course not!! (becuase we all know as anyone whose familiar with Snakes knows he’ll Grow another one) THE Snakes HEAD MUST TO BE REMOVED AT ALL COSTS your PROBLEM is NOW SOLVED! The CHInese, {not all} (and other Wealthy SCUM) ARISTOCRATS and Oligarchs will continue to FUND this UNGODLY practice for this so-called Herbal remedy they USE FOR HEALING AND CURES.Why dont we take the Inititive and start FUNDING the Practise or Harvestation of PANDA EARS or their Heads?( We the FEW, the Considerate.have an OBLIGATION to NATURE and our FUTURE OFFSPRING that will INHERIT this BEAUTIFUL PLANET with all it has to offer, TO PROTECT IT and all its SPECIES GREAT AND SMALL. ESPECIALLY the GReat RHino.beginning with GLOBAL MEDIA AWareness. (Sanctioning African Governments that accept Bribes,DEMONSTRATIONS at GREAT Portland street CHINA’s EMBASSY LONDON on a Continuous basis. till they get the MESSAGE! ADdress HRH Prince Charles. as he is a DEVOUTt Supporter of Saving the Great RHINO. Organise a Global Covert Team with serving/civilian and retired members of the Military and Intelligence Communities. with a capable Etraction Team to enter any Country and remove those responsible for the atrocities and make them accountable.

  6. Referring to the comments under the heading “”Shoot to Kill”” and in particular I quote “” If a poacher is apprehended before an attack……”” I would mention that apart from “”armed trespass”” the poacher would more than likely be guilty of possession of an unlicensed firearm and, under the circumstances, be subjected to a healthy imprisonment sentence in terms of Act 75/1969.

  7. Poachers are very inhumane bloody no mercy animals killers. They surround the whole herd of elephants and start blasting them with shouts, joy and euphoria. Do you know how extreme psychological trauma is caused to a baby elephant/rhino to witnessed such tragedy (if they survived the massacre) against its mother / protector.
    Also, these poachers are well organised with international networking ring, not to mentioned their financial strength to corrupt officials or to better armed their honchos.
    God blessed human with intelligent and compassion so we can take care of these beautiful creatures of His creation on earth. If we allowed such extreme suffering and killing onto them, the sins is upon all of us for doing nothing while they bled, mutilated and suffered in such bloody horrors.
    Yes, for a developing country such as Africa (which some are still backwards), Shoot To Kill Policy is needed to mitigate these bunch of rogue bloody merchants for now. This may sound cruel, inhuman, no human rights, etc. but somewhere along the line, the poaching must be stop.
    The park rangers must be well equipped, trained, and serve with high professionalism. Their career in this path must be enforced with better welfare and salary scale based on their merit. Only the specially selected /recommended candidates will filtered strictly by the appointed house of selection committee.
    End of the day, sincere, honest and consistent political will among the noble lawmakers to end such crime will finally sealed the fate of the poachers. Act fast as the clock is ticking.

  8. Why is Professional hunting of the Rhino allowed ? How is in the majority in the professional poaching trade ? Why kill a poacher and at the same time allow Rhino Professional Hunting. Poachers cruel kill rhinos and so does professional hunters. The Whiteman is a Professional Hunter and the Blackman a poacher. Does the professional poached (from the rhino) horn not sold to the same people who buy poached horns. Clear the fire and not the smoke or the rhino will be extinct.

  9. Pondo, there are very major differences between legitimate trophy hunters (I am excluding pseudo hunters) and poachers. Here are the three most important ones:
    1. Poachers will shoot any rhino, even a pregnant female, which means that the 7 or 8 calves a cow whould normally bear in her lifetime will not be born, thus reducing future growth. Trophy hunters target only males, often post-reproductive or those that have killed other bulls by fighting
    2. Money from trophy hunting is reinvested in the game farm, which employs local staff etc. Money from poaching goes to criminal syndicates, which also frequently trade in drugs and arms, and has been used to fund terrorist activities.
    3. Trophy hunters hang their trophies on their walls; they don’t illegally sell them to criminal syndicates.
    Finally, I don’t agree with your distinction between white and black people’s role in rhino poaching – or rhino conservation for that matter.

  10. Cathy dean thanks a lot for your very informative and objective statements. Are there mechanism in place to monitor Trophy Hunters that the horns are not sold to the illegal syndicates. The other problem is that Rhino Conservations is like an EXCLUSIVE CLUB for a certain race. The Campaign must be all inclusive. As long as we don’t work as one race in this problem of Rhino Poaching will never stop. Dehorning also give suspicion the horns are sold illegal by farmers without Government knowledge. Shoot to kill the Poacher is not the solution. In the long run poachers will end up working hand in hand with farm guards and rangers as they are all from the disadvantaged population to poach. This is happening because rangers live in the same communities with poachers. There must be a clear Policy on how the Communities benefit from this Conservation from the farmers.

  11. Pondo, thanks in turn for yours.
    The international movement of rhino horn (and other wildlife products from endangered species) is regulated by CITES – the Convention on the International Trade in Fauna and Flora. At present, all sales of modern (post 1947) rhino horn are illegal. Antique rhino horns (older than 1947) are subject to different laws, which vary from country to country: for example, the UK has banned all exports of rhino horn unless they are verified Chinese libation cups (18th or 19th century generally) that are going to known museums and galleries.
    You ask a good question, in that not all countries’ CITES offices check that trophy mounts remain hanging on a trophy hunters’ wall, and this is why South Africa changed its rules last year on allowing so-called hunters from Vietnamto come and hunt rhinos in South Africa.
    All of the field programmes we work with in Africa (and Asia) employ, train and build capacity for local people, many if not most of whom are black Kenyans / Zimbabweans / Namibians South Africans etc., though we have not conducted an ethnic origin profiling exercise so I can’t give you exact details. We also support environmental education programmes in Mkomazi and Zambia, whose audiences are 100% black schoolchildren.
    I am therefore not comfortable with your contention that conservation is exclusive on the basis of race.
    Cathy Dean, Director, Save the Rhino International

  12. Cathy l value your imense contribution is saving wildlife. You have however amongst your Safari collegues who are now pushing our communities to the limit with ths so called ‘Shoot to kill””.

    The send their recruit Ranger to our Communities enticing the unemployed youths to go to the Conservation Safaris and poach and in turn they waylay them and shoot them dead.

    The Spy Ranger will visit our Community and introduce himself as a Ranger who has knowledge of the patrolling routines in the Conservation and at the same time as having a prospective rhino horn Buyer. Unemployed youths are promised US$ windfall and poaching protection.

    The youths are given hunting firearms, routes to take and the actual time to go into the farm. The Rangers and their Managers will they lay an ambush and shoot the enticed poachers. At time the Spy Ranger uses mobile phones with the enticed poachers to led them into the trap.

    Cathy Dean as Director of Save the Rhino …. this is happening Tawla Conservation in Beit Bridge, Matabeleland South region in Zimbabwe.

    May you are a matter of urgency rein in your guys. Revenge killings are very imminent. This is satanic acts. If you post your email l will happily contact you

  13. As an ex anti-poaching operative, I have seen a great deal. I have seen the bloody deaths of not only animals, but friends as well. The shoot to kill order is all very well, but pulling the trigger yourself in another. We always tried to take suspects alive and into custody, but it was not always as easy as it seemed. The “”shoot to kill”” mind set is all very well, but the poachers knowing that, might lead to less willingful surrenders. But i still believe ranger should have the option. I for one, have had enough of it though. There is no dignity in death, the loosening of a corpse’s bowels and the regret that follows. I served my country’s wildlife well, and I am proud. But I emplore the people commenting, think of the soldier on the ground fighting this silent war. To protect life is easy and noble, but to take it, even from an enemy stains your soul. Support these men, they give more than you will ever know. I salute the silent warriors in the background, fighting against a great evil. My heart travels with you.

  14. Pondo LukaBhenjani
    Pondo, it is because the majority of poachers think the way you think. Uneducated of the systems in place to “”regulate”” hunting under controlled conditions and to differentiate between legal and illegal hunting as per definition by LAW. Poachers apart from the fact that they claim they hunt because they are hungry, violate laws and regulating systems and mutilate in the most barbaric way their kill, just to leave the food behind. Nothing stands in any black mans way to complete a PH course and apply for a concession to hunt the specific quota of game determined by the government and I cant see why a white man will come off better being caught poaching than a black man. African countries is governed by black people and they make the laws now, mostly in favor of blacks. You are right, there is a massive difference between moral values between black and white, but you don’t know it.
    Strangely, it is for some-one like yourself always a black white political outcome. Is it going to be any better if all whites are gone?

  15. I think that all the countries that have a poaching problem should try to come together and figure out a way to have laws that work for all of them, but still give a strong message to the poachers that if they hunt wild animals, then they will suffer the punishment, no matter what country they are in.
    They learn from each other of how strong or weak a countries laws are against poaching.
    I don’t like poachers, but I wouldn’t kill them, because if I did, I would be sinking down to their level. They may not be unarmed, but either way it’s still murder. No matter what way you look at it.

  16. Do anti-poaching organizations have drones in the air? Thermal cameras? or any way new-age military technology at their disposal. If not, how can we get them the latest and greatest stuff to help them hunt these people down.

  17. They don’t deserve to live. It’s not going to stop the demand but it could help discouraging people who are thinking of becoming poachers. The situation is so extreme that the measures need to be too. I don’t care if they are uneducated and poor, I would starve myself to death rather than killing animals in danger of extinction.

  18. Poachers are senseless, cruel bastards who kill everything they could get money for! They’re greedy, senseless murderers, why should they be let to live from killing critically endangered species? They are depleting the population of good, kind creatures who are doing nothing to them! Rhino horns are not medicine retard poachers.

  19. I would volunteer to fight for animals . We should Sell the poachers remains as a trophy maybe add some incentive for eliminating anyone who tries to kill an animal completely frivolous reasons. Let’s create a market in the rhinos favor

  20. ‘Shooting to Kill’ poachers is the wrong answer to poaching.
    Believe me, my stomach turns every day, witnessing and hearing about how humans treat animals. It blows my mind how satanic humans can be and to which levels of horror some go to make a buck. My immediate reaction is to retaliate with force. But as with many other processes in nature, things will balance out. Poachers force will increase too and it turns into a spiral of increased violence and suffering. Instead, use cunning and use their force to neutralise them, like in martial arts.

    A dead poacher can no longer be used. There are two ways to ‘use’ a poacher.
    1. engage the Intelligence Forces to track down the upchain
    2. capture poachers alive and offer them a better salary to protect wildlife and prevent poaching, waiving prosecution. Poachers often have excellent knowledge of the bush (related to poaching). This method (using the criminals to fight the criminals) is successfully used worldwide in the IT world, fighting hackers and other IT fraud.

    At the end of the day, a poacher needs to eat as well. Why not offer him a ‘safer’ way to achieve this goal ?

  21. They definitely need stricter laws on poaching. I was once lost for the difference between safari hunting and poaching. Now I know that poachers kill hundreds of endangered animals for their ivory and other valuable parts, leaving the rest of the animal to rot. Disgusting creatures.

  22. We all want to save the rhinos. Will killing poachers save the rhino? I’m afraid I doubt it. With so many poor, ignorant and greedy people, combined with sky-high prices for rhino horn, this is unlikely to work. And the justice system often seems incapable of processing captured poachers to produce any effective deterrent. I suggest that we need to consider other strategies. I’m not a rhino expert, but here’s a couple. Remove all rhino horns from all rhinos. Terrible, perhaps, but maybe this might stop the slaughter. And then another option would be to poison the horn in some way (careful not to poison the rhino!). This might have the great benefit of hitting the consumers of rhino horn, who seem to be so difficult to influence. A third option would be to flood the rhino horn supply chain (difficult, I’m sure, but not impossible) with bad tasting pseudo-horn (eg my ground up toe nails?), which would depress the price, and again hit the consumers of rhino horn. Just my thoughts..

  23. Last night they aired the plight of the African elephant on a nature conservation programme (50/50) on South African television. It was SO shocking/heart breaking to say the least! How conservationists manage to digest the slaughtering of african wildlife on a daily basis, I don’t know.

    At the moment 36000 African elephants are poached in Africa every year and in some cases the poor animal isn’t even dead before the poachers starts hacking away at it’s tusks. Absolutely barbaric! What is wrong with the human race that we cannot seem to get a grip and responsibly look after this beautiful planet God entrusted unto us?

    From where I’m sitting, the situation seems so serious, that something drastic needs to be done ASAP. Can’t the people of Africa somehow stand together for the sake of our beautiful continent and send all the Chinese back to China with the message that they are no longer welcome in Africa if they continue with the demand for rhino horn and ivory (which they mainly get illegally from Africa).

    Forget asking governments to help, because many of them are in bed with the Chinese government and seemingly want to do things diplomatically. This approach doesn’t work with unethical people. It’s no secret that the Chinese doesn’t seem to care about the environment (have a look at the Anti China Facebook page and see what atrocious things they do to animals – be warned, not for the faint hearted).

    Ordinary Africans need to stand together and send all Chinese people back to China where they can pillage and destroy to their heart’s content until there is nothing left to consume in their country. Surely there’s ways and means of getting rid of them without resorting to violence. I’m sure there’s a lot of beautiful ethical Chinese people out there, but I’m affraid the rotten apples spoils the lot for me. No more mister nice guy African people, let’s take hands for the sake of Africa’s wildlife who cannot fend for themselves – enough is enough!!!

  24. Shoot to kill policy of poachers is justifable in all cases. The reason being: Human kind is in now way close to extinction, as opposed to the wildlife being poached, Humans can allways be replaced, the hunted species cannot come back, once hunted to extinction.

  25. I was trying to contact the African Delegation at the U. N., however no success. It is my understanding that “”unmanned aircraft”” are of interest in controlling poachers. Any suggestions as to who to contact?

  26. I am a Anti Poaching Ranger in South Africa, and working and being amoungst these rhino is life changing. It is like they know we are protecting them and we can get within 10,5m of them without them acting violently… These animals are our closest friends when out in the field, will you take a life to save your best friends life? In real life your friend can defend himself, not these rhino we are the only thing standing between them and death. If and when we come in contact with a poacher, we will respond with the same force as them.

  27. The last comment I made was asking about suggestions to contact who ever in African Government made the offer of $10,000 for a way to control poachers. Or possibly everyone are just long on words, and nothing on action.

  28. Treat poaching as a game of chess. You will never win a game of chess using emotion, but only using intelligence. Poachers are toxic waste, but they are extremely intelligent, and one must respect and accept that. We must be more intelligent than them, and only then will we ‘check’ them. I can sit here writing how bad poachers are, but wildlife will still die. We must take away the product the poachers want, like what rhino rescue project is doing. I am planning of using indelible dye, like in banks, to devalue tiger skins – it will not stop poaching, but decrease profitabilty. We are in the 21st century, so we must use 21st century means. Poachers used cyanide to kill animals in Africa, thus, we must use hemicals that devalue animals but not harm wildlife. I have tested methods to devalue tiger skin and hopefully will test in India. If anyone is interested, please let me know on this website and I will set up email, and we can start the ball rolling.

  29. I completely agree that it is both necessary and justified to have a “”shoot to kill”” policy with poachers. The animals concerned are facing extinction and everything needs to be done to halt the slaughter.

  30. Anti poaching units should be trained to the highest standard. The following skills should be acquired: field craft, survival, tracking, navigation, (compass and map reading, GPS), animal behaviour, radio communications, weapons handling, ambushes, patrols, assault tactics, anti-poaching law. Patrol the borders and escort rhinos and herd of elephants in small groups. Small groups of anti-poaching units should be deployed two weeks on, two weeks off – rotating the units.
    Poachers should be caught and interrogated until they talk, exposing the chain higher up, then sentenced to life in prison or death. I’m going to join the anti poaching units to hunt these bastards down…

  31. I can not believe this editorial this person wrote? How many human beings are there on this earth? I Don’t know the exact figure but lets say a billion. What is the current Rhino and Elephant population? Possibly a thousand of each and this editor is protecting and I can’t help but laugh at the irony, the rights of a human being poacher. Just look at this arrogance what is this world coming to Mind you I would be the first person to be in harms way to protect anything that cant defend itself.

  32. Yes it is horrible what people will do to animals, but what about the millions of animals that are bred to be eaten, are they not worthy of our affection?

  33. People fail to understand the implications on the eco system. Reticulate pythons for example are being hunted and killed for their skins to make handbags. The reduction in the python population has resulted in an increase in the rat populations in south east asia.

  34. As in a number of responses, I myself believe these poachers should either be shot, or dismembered so they are unable to use a weapon again, the real problem allies in the utter scum at the top of the chain who are making thousands, Kill them and their families that will reduce the poaching, take there assets and share amongst the communities that are protecting these animals..
    The only good point great organisations are educating there locals let’s hope it reduces.
    THE BE ALL MAN IS A GREEDY BASTARD NEVER HAPPY NOT REALISING WHAT WILL SOON BE MISSING.

  35. There will always be poachers available to replace the one that is dead. This will no accomplish anything. The threat to rhinos will still be there. The main thing to do is what the military does. Send a spy poacher into the community to find out who is actually funding this atrocious act. This way intelligence can be gathered to build a case. Second, metal detectors should be placed on strategic points where most poaching is seen. This way if any poacher walks in with a gun or a trap then they will automatically be detected. There are lots of other ingenious ideas that can be utilized to combat these vile ‘creatures’. Thirdly, remote controlled cameras like the ‘dung-cam’ can be used for surveillance and to detect any traps set by poachers. To be honest I have many ideas that can be implemented but there needs education. People need to be educated about the ineffectiveness of using rhino horn. Doctors and scientist here should conduct a test demonstrating how ineffective it is. These are just few ideas but they can help greatly reduce the atrocity that’s happening. All in all. Donate for the cause!

  36. I so support the killing of poachers, we can’t do it fast enough for me. Otherwise, perhaps cutting off their noses and hands might show them what they have inflicted on these animals. Also, the idiots who purchase rhino horns, elephant tusks, shark fins, or other awful things done to animals by people for whatever their too often stupid reasons are should be prosecuted to the fullest or better yet, let’s stop aid to their countries until their countries stop these totally awful so called human beings from doing these heinous acts.

  37. People say that animals are more important then humans, but humans are mammals and mammals are animals. I know we are meant and built to eat other animals, but not to kill them for skin or ivory and horns. I mean are these people really serious I know the bible says something, but aside from what the bible says I mean think about how wrong killing fellow mammals and marine life for human gain. No one should kill animals for money it’s horrible and wrong on so many levels. Even I won’t eat some meats for example for the sake of my feelings about this topic I rarely eat cow, chicken, pig, and seafood because of how much I care. I don’t think its right to kill so much that the animal is in danger for how long it will be able to exist.

  38. i hate the fact that rhinos are be poached like they’re nothing. i mean, like, what if there were no more rhinos left? no trace of the rhino would be left for anyone. but i don’t think it would be necessary to kill them. only threaten to do it.

  39. What would Jack Bauer do? He may be fictional but he goes to extremes to prevent humans from making themselves extinct.
    Education is the key but that takes generations to get through, the Rhinos don’t have that long. Will the governments of countries using Rhino products change the law to make it illegal to buy and sell such products? Will this drive the business underground? Probably very tiny amounts of Rhino horn in those tablets, rest of it junk, maximises profit. Humans destroyed the earth when they invented money and religion.

  40. End them. STR, WWF, etc should hire soldiers of fortune to fight back. Re-direct some conservation funding into counter-poaching direct action teams & Africa and Asia. Strike fear in these people and their recruits and the word will get out that it is a bad profession to involved in…

  41. This guy that posted a comment named max IS A TOTAL DUMB ASS !! first poachers do male 2 American $ a day but that is so much money in there currency. you could buy a gorilla for 5 american dollars so poachers make plenty. They could also sell there kill buy them selves.
    So max quit being a dumb ass.

  42. I think that all poachers should be sentenced to death. There is just no reason for it. I feel this way about anyone that abuses animals period. They should have done to them what they do to the animals..it is only fair.

  43. Max’s comment seemed… very disconnected. Why did he just randomly capitalize words? But what I mostly got out of it was “”Killing Poachers won’t solve the problem. Pay more attention to the man behind the curtains.”” or something like that.

    Also, I think we should protect animals at all costs, however I think killing Poachers should be a last resort (even though they really deserve it). I think life sentences and interrogations are better.

  44. i will whole heatedly contribute to a fund that rewards rangers that kills the poachers or pay for the families of those who get killed in poacher attacks. Rangers endanger their lives and by just creating an unreasonable morale dilemma of saving the criminals we endanger the lives of rangers and other animals.

  45. The world has well over 7 billion people. We can stand to purge off some of the most lowly to help preserve our wildlife. I completely agree with bonuses awarded to rangers bringing the ultimate punishment to these disgusting humans. In impoverished communities in which poaching offers huge rewards to the assailants it is important to offer similar awards to the people doing good.

  46. Off with their heads….
    It would be a totally different situation if they where killing other people for let’s just say there finger nails because the Asians are convinced it cures disease!! If that was the case then the way this was handled would be completely different, just because they are animals people see it as ok?!?
    No not me it has gone to far I am studying reef conservation and the seahorse trade in Asia is my biggest nightmare as they believe for some reason, due to one of their dumb ass ancestors saying it heals you…heals what exactly? There will be none left soon and then what? They will just produce another myth about another species saying this does the same thing until we have no animals what so ever left. This is the same situation and has almost got me considering moving to Africa instead and setting up a rebel ranger force to wipe some of these scum out. Such a sad world we live in today that officials just stand by and let this happen. As said before the trusts which we put so much money into do nothing to save these lives they say they do but all they really do is tell us when one dies.
    If anyone would like to join the rebel ranger force let me know the sooner this is done the better, I for one would happily put my life on the line to protect such an indangered species as I am just one of the billions of the most abundant species on this planet. Disgusted is not even the word

  47. how do you put a hit on a known poacher? I have $100k burning a hole in my pocket that I will gladly give to the person that shows proof of poacher who killed Satao (kenya’s biggest elephant) and then shows his head on a stick!! Im not kidding either!!

  48. Poachers are evil pieces of shit and SHOULD BE KILLED!
    I saw a disturbing video of cowards who killed beautiful lions, tigers, giraffes, rhinos, and more and was so outraged. Poor animals die from the hands of these sick bastards thanks to guns and tranquilizers. I DARE them to go up to one of these majestic creatures unarmed!!

    There are so few endangered species left for our children to see. I support our local zoo and Animal Rights groups and campaigns. I wish more could be done to save all the wonderful animals out there. All countries need stricter penalties for poaching.

  49. On an emotional level I would volunteer my time to assist hunting and killing poachers however killing them makes it harder for the poachers to get the horns. Less supply drives up the prices therefore making the problem worse. As many have mentioned, reducing demand is the key! Now just need to get these [deleted] to stop pillaging the world for all it has.

  50. They are really not doing a good enough job, they need more support and funds. The main reason poachers are still so active is because the Chinese thoroughly believe that Black Rhino horn will make them able to perform sexually, seriously.

  51. I feel for the hundreds of rangers killed in the line of duty. I wonder how many rangers could be saved if there was a medical doctor in each ranger camp that could stabilize their condition enough for them to be transported to a hospital instead of dying in the field. I am a doctor and would be very interested in starting a volunteer group of doctors from all over the world to staff remote ranger camps for this purpose. I am also a very accurate shooter out to 1000 yards if that helps.

  52. All poachers around the world need to be handled this way. But they’re not the root of the problem.

    Their customers are predominantly the wealthy elite, or “”richers”” as I like to call them. Peoplle like the Kardashians/Jenners. The Trumps. The Hiltons and so on. These are the people who demand powdered rhino horn as a form of erectile dysfunction medication, or gorilla skin bedsheets, or whale oil for archaic lanterns they use around their mansions as to save on electric bills. These people should also be exterminated brutally if our future is to have any wildlife in it.

  53. The national parks giving bonuses for killing poachers are well aware that if they do not kill the poachers than the poachers will kill the rangers. The poachers should be killed on sight, it’s the right thing to do.

  54. It’s sad that all our animals are leaving us because of money and greed
    Especially by the Asians taking the ivory and skins
    We need to stop it at its source, remember most Asians are [deleted]
    So you need to get at them that way ,cut ties with them
    They don’t believe in God and his creatures
    Remember the devils eyes, what do they remind you off
    If we stop the demand then it nay stop the poachers
    We need to medically stop the ivory from growing in a short period of day 10 years , then re grow again

  55. First of all, we should start to boycott buying products from big companies who assemble their products in China, vietnam or elsewhere in asia, where rhino, elefant or tiger- “”products”” are consumed. Let these companies know, for example on their Facebook-page, that their products carry the blood of rhinos, elefants , tigers (or whatever creature). Add pictures of killed animals to your postings. Call up potential buyers on corresponding product pages not to buy blood-Elefant/ blood-rhino /blood-tiger/ blood-Shark/ blood-dolphine-products. Hurt the asians at their weakest point: Their money. Open blood--pages on Facebook. Add lists of well known companies, who have a production in those “”Countries of evil””. Tell your friends about blood-animal-products! And then lets wait a while and see what happens…

  56. Boycott products and services out of the countries of evil

    China, vietnam, other asian and indonesian countries as well are the main production locations of many top 500 western companys. On the other hand many chinese companies belong to the global fortune 500 and have relations to and influence on other companies located in the southern and western hemisphere.
    Relations to those chinese companies as well as outsourcing of production to china / vietnam (and similar evil countries) increases wealth of their upper class, who define obviously the main consumer group of ivory-, rhinohorn-, tiger-“”products”” and “”products”” of other endangered species.

    Encourage the community of the remaining intelligent humans to open blood-rhino- / blood-elephant- / blood-tiger- / blood-shark- / blood-whale- / blood-dolphin-product pages on facebook and other internet sites where all companies with relation to countries of evil and out of the countries of evil are listed with their relations, their products and their services! There more the better. The more the difficulter it is to eleinate those sites from the web. Add fotos of killed elephants / rhinos / tigers / whales / … and build relations! Add stories of our suffering creatures and ask the readers if they are owing products or using services of those companies whose owners and managers don’t care at all about nature and creature. Talk to people that work in such companies. Confront them frequently with stories and pictures.
    Think if there is any rhino-blood-free smartphone in the world … whats your conclusion? Imagine a sticker with a killed rhino / elephant / tiger / … on the back side of every smartphone … on car’s which contain parts made in that countries …

    Make the big poachers, the principals suffer by hitting them at their most vulnerable points: Their money, their status. Make them think! Force them to act in our sense … Encourage everyone to ask for chinese-free / vietnamese-free products and services. Avoid visiting their bloody restaurants.
    Your are the foot-soldier! Even if you don’t protect animals directly or can’t give money to organizations, you can do a lot!

    Start the defense! Start it today!

  57. A recent 77 year sentence for a poacher is a rare event. Generally it’s a revolving door system. After seeing elephants slaughtered and rhino brutalized and butchered while still alive, death is the only deterrent to a poacher whether shoot to kill or court ordered execution. Shoot to kill circumvents the corruption in many African nations. The only area we can exert some measure of control is in the field. We apparently can’t stop people buying or selling the stuff but we sure can make it a death sentence for poaching.
    Interesting, that in the face of the Chinese led slaughter of African wildlife, killing their native elephants in Yunnan Province is a death penalty offense. Quote from a New York Time’s article April 25, 2014 “”Since 1995, when four people were executed by firing squad for killing an elephant, only a handful of domestic elephants have been poached for their tusks, according to the state news media, and not one in the past decade.

  58. Time has come to shoot to kill poachers on the ground to augment all the other good work being done in forums, wildlife organisations, in negotiations with communities to get them to understand how they should benefit from living with wild animals, with governments to get them to prioritise the fight against this lucrative criminal activity and in the courts to sentence the perpetrators – especially the kingpins such as Ras. These activities need to be escalated collectively and without delay in order to ratchet up the level of resistance against these international poaching organisations in order to become a more daunting deterrent against this genocide.

  59. Unfortunately, very many Rangers in Africa are coming up against gangs sent from Shabab which has vowed allegiance to Al Quaeda and sent raiders to kill unbelievers. They and Boko Haram and Ganjaweed from Darfur, and other gangsters come in groups and have all raised money by raiding other countries in Africa of their Elephants -as many as possible. They come in with high powered guns , assault rifles, machine guns mounted on vehicles or aircraft and RPGs (rocket powered grenades), from the Camaroon with Lords Resistance Army, and from Sudan and other countries in the north, and kill AS MANY ELEPHANTS AS POSSIIBLE IN ORDER TO SELL AND BUY MORE WEAPONS.; and white South Africans have been involved in killing as well. There is corruption amongst many government officials in many countries as well. This IS A WAR, and the Rangers really do not have the weapons, clothes and food as well as a good pair of boots to do their job properly, so to say that they have to hang fire is a little silly. Many Rangers only just get away with their lives against big gangs like these. All that I have said has been reported in The New York Times and other papers. The wild life is being decimated left right and centre. Wake up and look it all up on the Internet from reliable sources. ALL THE WILD LIFE PARTICULARLY THE BIG WILD-LIFE WILL HAVE GONE IN A SHORT TIME IF GOVERNMENT DO NOT DO SOMETHING DRASTIC BECAUSE THIS IS NOT JUST ABOUT ANIMALS IT IS ABOUT GREED AND POWER FUELLED BY POVERTY. I have not known what to do for a while but eventually with finding out more and more I have joined the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos and Big Cats. If I were a man and a bit younger I would go to fight with the Rangers. It is a very difficult life but at least I would be on the front line. C. McLaglen

  60. Pressure needs to be brought to bear on BBC Wildlife Fund, if they continue to peddle their ‘soft-on-poaching’ view.

    Money can be better spent on EFFECTIVE conservation efforts, than wasting it on an organization so out of touch, that they withdraw support from programs willing to commit the extreme measures necessary to protect the wildlife they claim to champion.

    What will they do when all the rhinos are gone, while they dither and balk and pontificate about morality — put out a commercial with a mournful soundtrack to drum up MORE money for their worthless organization?

  61. I am so angry against that! These poachers deserve to be shot, shot to kill very ok, it’s too stupid to shot rhinos at present time, in the middle of extintion big troubles and to collect horns just for nothing, just supposing for healing or something like that, it’s unbelievable how people can trust these ideas. Poachers are too organized, too aggressive, too unprejudiced to save them, and I think they know. No chances then.

  62. Seriously, the only good poacher is a dead one. The rhino and all creatures are important to our planet. Humans, in the last 30 years have grossly changed the climate, forever, and not in a good way to our world. Besides the obvious things, like war, dumping of toxic waste in our waters and land, sucking up all the resources on Earth until there’s practically nothing left, killing of any animals to extinction is also very bad for this planet and even more so to us. We’re destroying everything we need to survive in this world and if we keep going down this road, a 100 years from now, give or take a few years, this planet will look different and in some places, unrecognizable. Dinosaurs ruled for hundreds of millions of years, humans have only been around for 250,000 years, that’s nothing and its a pretty good bet that humans won’t make another 250,000. Now that is a “”SAD BUT TRUE”” story.

  63. I am so glad to see such a long running discussion on this matter.
    I believe it has always been the policy and right of game rangers or wildlife wardens to protect themselves from poachers and I fully support their right to return fire when threatened. And yes I agree, we need to save the rhino and so much more,however,
    This whole discussion has seems to be descending into an unhealthy highly emotive tit-for-tat though and such devolution of rational thought generally leads to the distinct rat-a-tat-tat of senseless combat where too many innocents lose it.
    Sure it would be great to think that superman and other fictional heroes could just move in and deal with the poachers and all the rhinos, elephants and other endangered creatures and flora could live on happily ever after, but that’s just not reality is it?
    The reality of putting boots on the ground and in the air is carnage. Forget not that many of the areas the poachers operate in are already unstable, poverty racked communities often at war or on the brink of it. The past teaches us that by placing militant pressures on such people is that they tend to react in what western culture would consider irrational ways.
    I have seen the results myself a long time ago, in a slightly different situation; nonetheless, the outcome was the senseless wholesale slaughter of thousands upon thousands of animals in a scorched earth reaction of nasty guys to overwhelming force in the eastern Congo. There where it happened, bleached carcasses of all kinds of rhino, elephant and so many others, lay upon carpets upon carpet of spent ammunition.
    Few animals were seen in a vast area there for over a decade; then they started trickling back in and breeding – but only because the shooting stopped.
    So if you want to start the shooting remember the laws of unintended consequences, and remember who is funding the poachers and worry some because those people are extremely nasty and unpredictable.

    Perhaps those who subscribe to the shoot to kill policy should be aiming at them. They do not hang around wild animals, so an immediate reaction against the animals will not occur. As they rule by fear and violence, they comprise the basest of human thought and action; their very evolution is contrary to the survival of civil society and as such, whoever has the right to exterminate that cancer of humanity would be doing the planet and its’ denizens a favour.
    Some may think this politically incorrect, but common people follow the money…………….

  64. Poaching is the livelihood of these people… They are not educated and need money to pay for food for there family. I’m not saying poaching is right! I’m very against it but we need to educated these people and give them other options of jobs. This way we can help poor families and also protect the animals! If it came down to it you too would do anything to get money to keep you family alive!

  65. Yes it is true, endangered species such as the Rhino should be protected with lethal force but there is no point in chopping off the stem. You MUST pull out the roots! Usually their are two types of poachers, one type who hunts to feed their family and the other works for a poaching syndicate. Shooting poachers is a excellent scare tactic against people who do it to get money but against the syndicates it is nothing but a minor setback. If possible poachers MUST be questioned and interrogated. Shooting these poachers is nothing but holding off the inevitable.

  66. Egads!…Shooting the King’s deer!
    Sounds like Robin and his band of merry men are sorely needed to defend and help feed the peasants.
    “”Conservationism”” is a bourgeoisie pastime of the those who think they have control of what happens on this planet…no matter what.
    Watching white aristocrats arm blacks and direct them to murder their own people is monstrous.
    Murderers!

  67. These places do not realize how much money they make from people wanting to see these animals in the wild and if their is no more animals they will not be making anymore money. They need to take drastic measures to start protecting the animals and sending a clear message that you can’t just walk into this country and slay our means of supporting our communities. Wake up countries and start protecting these animals by all means necessary. Shot first ask questions later.

  68. Save the Rhino – except they never do. 30 years of failure is your record of saving rhino. Maybe it’s time to stop shooting poachers and come up with more innovative ways of saving rhino?

  69. While i agree with that shoot at sight will not solve the problem and that we have to differ between poacher who do it to survive and poaching syndicates there are some comments i expected to be, people just seeing how cruel criminals are treated. Cushlomockree, it shows that you didnt understand at all what a big problem the poaching is as you pretty much say conservation is not important. I agree with that the problem goes out from the white people, i even know this for fact but like so many people(people who work in this field) tell here that by poaching great job oppurtunities with better income get losed, that the beautiful natural heritage of africa gets destroyed by greedy people and most important that poaching also funds terrorism. your last sentence only indicates as well that you defend criminal actions here. I m not critizising the poor ones under the poacher who do this for their own survival but your comment especial the one sentence “”Conservationism”” is a bourgeoisie pastime of the those who think they have control of what happens on this planet…no matter what”” which sounds to me you want to say conservation is not as important, it should be dropped and is taken way to serious. maybe i understood wrong but thats the way it sounds to me. i can tell you, i know from own expirience wildlife conservation is a serious issue and important and poaching a big problem as said it also funds terrorism.

  70. correct Michael Musgrave. The same it is with the trying to educate and make people all over the world aware of the problem. same as shoot at sight failure over decades, thats why i fully agree some new methods have to come up. question is if the authorities even want to find a way.

  71. Yes taking a human life is awful but this has gone too far. We are in a crises! When this article was written in 2012 – 668 ‬‬Rhinos were killed in South Africa. 2013 – 1004 ‬‬Rhinos were slaughtered. Last year, 2014 – It was 1200‬‬!! My god what is it going to be at the end of 2015 – 2000? There is no more time to quibble over if its right or not. We the citizens have to lobby and fight for the harshest possible sentences for these poachers and syndicate bosses. A shoot to kill policy is simply a necessary evil I’m afraid to say. Even temporarily until the situation is under control and possibly the death sentence for anyone proven guilty of it. Harsh as it may sound what else can we do? The Govt is doing nothing as usual. Someone said they felt sorry for the poachers! I responded with this comment: I don’t feel sorry for them one bit! Do you know how many rangers and guards these poachers kill each year? How many Rhino have their horns chainsawed off while they are still alive? And how many Calves are continually found alive screaming next to their mother’s mutilated bodies..They have poached 1200 Rhinos in South Africa in 2014. That’s broken the record of 1004 in 2013. And thats nothing compared to Elephants. Even legalising ivory trade did not work, so it won’t work for Rhinos either. Trying to educate is obviously the more ‘enlightmented approach’ but we have run out of time. Believe it or not – they are killing about 120 Elephants on average every Day on the African continent. These are highly organised killers who don’t give a damn about the carnage they are leaving in their wake. I dare you to watch this whole short video below, this is happening everyday in South Africa. Watch it and then tell me you still feel sorry for the poachers:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79nCCKYhzWw

  72. A animals/Rhinos life is equal to any human life. screw the poachers for they are cold blooded murderers. defend the helpless Rhino for crying out loud!.

  73. While my initial reaction is to shoot the bastards who kill rhinos/elephants/tigers/lions etc, the fact remains that you have no idea what these people are going through. While killing an animal for its’ horn is as repulsive for me as it is for the rest of you, the fact remains that very few to none of the “”kill poachers”” crowd has even been to Africa, I’ll wager, let alone lived there. Speaking as a homegrown Canadian white male with a detached viewpoint, I can say that shooting the poachers would be a minor deterrent. Crime syndicates would find a way to bribe the rangers, or the people that give them equipment. Sabotage, mislead and destroy. The fact remains that you need to take down the syndicate to resolve the current problem, but even that is a short term solution. People are starving, and for those who know NOTHING about starving, let me educate you.

    No matter how righteous you consider yourself, no matter how much willpower you have, if you stepped off your safety nets, away from our socialist countries, with nothing but poaching between you and an agonizing death, you’d take the damn job.

    Consider this: The only difference (assuming no wasted meat) between those who hunt rhinos and those who farm chickens or hunt deer is the health of the species harmed. Humans are Omnivorous consumers. While I agree that there are too many of us, the fact remains that the poachers are shortsighted because they have to be to live. We in the western world have the luxury (Yes LUXURY) of long term planning.

    Killing the poachers? maybe not. Killing the wasteful bastards who make light of an entire species? YES. but don’t blame the starving bastard with a gun. Blame the jackass that put him there.

  74. This is why I will not donate to Save The Rhino, which condones hunting . I instead give money to charity that REALLY PROTECTS. STR SHOULD OPPOSE HUNTING NOT SPOUT LIES OF CONSERVATION , WHERE HUNT IS CONCERNED IT IS A CON I quote:” Cathy Dean27 June 2013, 09:53
    Pondo, there are very major differences between legitimate trophy hunters (I am excluding pseudo hunters) and poachers. Here are the three most important ones:
    1. Poachers will shoot any rhino, even a pregnant female, which means that the 7 or 8 calves a cow whould normally bear in her lifetime will not be born, thus reducing future growth. Trophy hunters target only males, often post-reproductive or those that have killed other bulls by fighting
    2. Money from trophy hunting is reinvested in the game farm, which employs local staff etc. Money from poaching goes to criminal syndicates, which also frequently trade in drugs and arms, and has been used to fund terrorist activities.
    3. Trophy hunters hang their trophies on their walls; they don’t illegally sell them to criminal syndicates.
    Finally, I don’t agree with your distinction between white and black people’s role in rhino poaching – or rhino conservation for that matter.” END QUOTE

  75. I’m just reading what people are saying here and I am honestly starting to think that either people here are mentally challenged or they completely lost their mind. Are you even listening to yourselves? Kill a poacher on sight? Really? And are we seriously comparing a human life to a rhino? I was just an unbiased reader who wanted to get a little insight on this and all I see is people who are demanding the death of other human beings for the crime of hunting endangered animals. Don’t get me wrong, I personally think that hunting an endangered animal is very wrong and especially rhinos because, well, we don’t really need to eat them. But seriously, are we really killing men who hunt rhinos? Is the death penalty the appropriate measure? Wouldn’t life sentencing do the same trick by keeping them away for example? I mean we don’t even do executions for rape criminals but we are more than willing to do it for a stupid rhino? Did you know that many species go extinct every day and many of them are species that we haven’t even identified yet? We don’t even know all the species that exist on our planet. Shocker i know. Some people might say losing this species is gonna damage our ecosystem greatly. At this point if you are so worried about our ecosystems and our habitats and our earth in general, your last worry is a missing species. There are MUCH bigger factors and determinants that will make a MUCH bigger change if you focus on them rather than this petty detail. It’s like if it was raining gorilla shit 24/7 and someone is so worried about the pigeon droppings on his car. It’s a piss in the ocean. Grow the **** up rhino huggers. Seriously.

  76. EVERYBODY BE QUIET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  77. To anyone not taking animal slaughter seriously: You obviously have not witnessed the mutilation and pain endured by this animals-most are alive during this event. That same poacher will slit your throat for a cell phone or less. It is a monster with no conscience, not a human. To protect a poacher means you are in the same category.
    This topic is like the drug trade and arms dealers. Bring 1 down and 2 will take its place. Supply will only stop once demand has stopped and we cannot exactly bomb Vietnam, China, Saudi etc. Legalizing it will bring another area for corruption in our current government. They are already calculating the money they have ‘lost’ due to poaching on their websites.
    [deleted]
    Saddest, but safest way to stop Rhino horn and Ivory will at the end be to de-horn the animals in a painless way professionally.
    For some humanitarians and the ‘Shut Ups’: Not all humans are as human as we are supposed to be. Do you 1st need to be a victim before you face reality?

  78. And are we seriously comparing a human life to a rhino?””

    We could. And rhinos are more valuable, since they are close to extinction, and there are far too many humans as it is. Certainly an innocent animal’s life is more valuable than that of a poacher. If they were starving and killed them for food, that would be one thing. But the only reason they do this is greed and disregard for life, animal or human. There are a lot of struggling and poor people in those countries and they don’t resort to poaching.

    It would be nice if law could truly be enforced, but as it is, I consider it a war. The poachers have declared war on animals, rangers, and rest of the society. So yeah, kill them at sight until you can actually try and convict them efficiently.

    One or the very reasons the planet is in such a sorry state is the arrogant belief that humans are indefinitely more valuable than other life forms for the mere virtue of existing.

  79. The United States government likes to put its nose into everyone’s business, interfering even where it has no direct and immediate interest. Large animals and herds are essential for the maintenance of our environment, but the U.S. does not lift a finger, even fawning over China. We must insist on our elected representatives taking a strong stance and positive action, even if that includes the use of Predator drones to stop the poachers. (Lots of YouTubes featuring their use against other terrorists. Drones and Hellfire missiles could be furnished, plus training for native operators.) Intelligence agencies and Interpol can certainly do much more to take down the criminal gangs and their entire supply line. Why shoudn’t Bill Gates and other philanthropies offer their help? If they can only bring themselves to use white-glove techniques, then at least heavy advertising, teaching, and media campaigns should be funded to shame the final users.
    When Russia finally regained control of their borders about 5 years ago, Vladimir Putin, as an animal conservationist, put a stop to Chinese poaching of Siberian Antelopes, which had been decimated to near-extinction. Now these herds are slowly being rebuilt. The U.S. has done the same with wolves and buffalo, and it is past time to protect and defend threatened species everywhere.
    I encourage a letter and email campaign be started, with a plan of action as indicated above. If started now, we may influence all Presidantial candidates to make a commitment, or at least take a strong stance.
    I challenge all of you reading this to use whatever resources they have to make this idea “”go viral””. Let’s see how long it takes for our voices to be heard.

  80. My opinion towards poachers is that they can kill a rhino, but only if he is brave enough to do it by the laws of nature, meaning without a gun and knive. By all means, kill as many rhinos as you want as long as you do it bare hands, that is much more sensible than just killing off nature with firearms just because you have them. If you can fist fight a rhino and punch him to death, you earned it. But if you use firearms or other weapons, im sad to say you are just as pathetic as the morons who brought you up to be what you are today (your parents).

  81. Live by the gun then die by the gun. These poachers are well organised teams that hunt for trophies and the horns , they are prepared to kill rhinos, elephants & tigers for their needs, if caught in the act then they deserve to be shot. Human rights should not come into protecting them as animal rights are not protecting the Rhinos enough. One day they may become the hunted.

  82. poachers must be stopped by death only no excuses these people shouldn’t be allowed to live they are going to make so many animals in the world extinct its just not right protect protect all our beautiful animals in the world ,,,,too many animals are at risk from so many things that’s happening in the world today global warming oil drilling logging these things all need to be controlled…….

  83. First off, I must state that I highly disagree with poaching. I love animals, and hate to see them being killed. I would hate for any creature to become extinct. But I also understand things from the poacher’s perspective. I lived out in the bush in zambia for quite a while; while I was there, I met many poachers. These men were usually dirt poor villagers who would kill an animal mainly for the food that it could provide for their families/ villages. Every single part of the animal was used; nothing went to waste. Like I said before, I do NOT support poaching… but if poaching was what could keep your family alive when you had nothing, would you not perhaps do the same? Just something to think about for those of you who are so willing and ready to support, and even aid, in the killing of poachers. If you had to choose between the life of an animal, or a fellow human being, which would you choose…? I understand that rangers will shoot to protect themselves (and the animals) but for you people who are wanting to go out there yourselves and hunt down every poacher and murder them, don’t you think that there are better options? Prison, for instance? In my humble opinion, a human’s life is always more important than an animal’s.

  84. Money is the problem itsel Holly I warship Christ ; you can only have one master Jesus or money I find no comfort in money money is the fricking source those who warship money are greedy I don’t like talking about money is it good no is it evil yes is it plausible yes can it comfort you no i don’t let money controll my life for i warship Jesus Christ

  85. YES its ok to SAVE another life through deadly force if necessary. A human life is not worth more than another life. Life is life, we all have feelings, we all have a soul. Don’t make the mistake of thinking we humans are more important than any other life. It’s we humans who are destroying the life on this planet, we are the dis-ease on this planet. I’d be glad to save a rhino and its baby from the horror of poaching by making a choice of who’s gonna go, the good or the bad

  86. What’s all this namby pamby “”as a last resort”” blather? These scumbags are threatening to wipe out several species. They don’t deserve to exist on this earth. Shoot to kill should be a first resort. Enough of the politically correct nonsense.

  87. I know this is somewhat off-topic, but still related…
    It is immoral that we are seeing the top global couture designers bringing FUR back onto the runways…AGAIN. Historically, fur served a purpose to keep indigenous peoples warm. In 2015, it is clearly not necessary and we are long overdue for that disgusting and barbaric trend to go away. It is incomprehensible how fashion brands, designers, anyone who buys fur in the current time can live with themselves. Where is the shame? The ironically backwards thinking of supposedly fashion forward couture…Let’s see more design creativity with Gore-Tex and sustainable fabrics and promoting these textiles into couture status…and less looking in the rearview mirror.

  88. I am an animal lover, I don’t even eat animals, but it’s horrifying to hear people advocating the taking of a human life for any reason other than self defense. As people are making these comments on their computers, I’m sure their lives are a lot more cushy than many of those who wind up poaching. Things might not be so black and white when your children crying for food. Ending proverty would go a long way to ending poaching. And let’s go after those who purchase these things and create a market for these illegal items. Also, let’s go after rich people who go to Africa to poach like that American dentist who killed that lion in South Africa. Prison for poachers? Yes. Self defense? Yes. Murder? No!

  89. I wonder what many people in their comfortable homes talking about shooting human beings would resort to if they were suddenly thrown into desperate poverty. I don’t condone poaching. However, the response has to be reasoned and not fanatical.

  90. I agree that poachers should be severely punished, but death is really cruel, aren’t you sort of a hypocrite when you kill somebody for killing something?

  91. How about some actual TRUTH for once. There are now 7 Billion hominids of different species in the world today. Poachers almost exclusively come from groups that are breeding out of control. Destroying habitat and everything around them. By default the sheer ignorance of poachers of bear etc… include them in the same category. It’s little wonder that the world’s pestilence and pandemics are coming from these areas. I fully advocate and would volunteer to shoot poachers on sight. Dr. Richard Leakey advocated and implemented this strategy in 1960’s Kenya. Traffickers, transporters, corrupt officials, store owners selling or profiting from these abominations should be shot in raids, if captured tried and hanged, all assets seized. The seizing of assets in addition to harsh and lengthy prison terms for the buyers. A few good examples and they’ll just take Viagra. Everyone in the entire chain from poacher to final consumer are committing crimes against humanity. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Or we can just wring our hands in despair as the cure for cancer and the last Think is murdered.

  92. If you want to stop poaching entirely, simply place a bounty on well-known poacher’s heads. Once the price of a poacher’s head is more valuable than an elephant’s tusk, this will lead to poachers poaching themselves.

    I realise this is a grisly subject, but those are my thoughts.
    “”I have spoken

  93. It is amazing the passion that is shown for these animals just in these comments. It is an immoral and unforgivable thing to kill a rhino and therefore I do believe they should be punished. However, killing a person is a major step towards inhumanity. How can we expect others to be humane towards animals when we cannot even be humane to each other? It is important to consider the impoverished, harsh and unbearably difficult situations from which most of these poachers come. This DOES NOT justify their actions, however, there is a difference between justification and understanding. It is important to understand the opposition in order to counter it. Let us have compassion for that of which we don’t understand. It is shocking and surprising to see the amount of bloodlust that can be built up when there is such little comprehension of these people’s situations and the reasons behind their actions. This will perhaps allow their motivations, if not their actions, to be reasonable.

  94. I read all the philosophy and profound thoughts posted above.
    It is more than apparent none if any of those Plato wanna bee’s have any clue what a street fight this is.

  95. Listen its time to take matters into the hands of the private sector and relieve all Government bodies from been involved in all forms of Wild Life as that is where the ROTT starts.

  96. I had a friend back in the 80s who worked as a mercenary for the Kenyan Government, although both he and the Kenyan Govt would deny this if asked. His job was to kill poachers, mostly Ugandans and Tanzanians. He walked the game preserves with a sniping rifle and two Masai trackers. And when they came across any other armed people in the game preserve, he killed them. We were both ex-military, and understood that this was done to protect the Kenyan tourist industry. But to this day I feel what he was doing was correct, even if the reasons for it happening weren’t the same as mine.

  97. Poachers have to know that they could be killed by an animal, so why is it different for a human to kill them? Not saying that death is the best option, but how many times will this happen before all of the endangered animals are extinct?!?

  98. Black rhinos are now extinct….. Humans are not going extinct…. hell even scumbags and [ deleted ] are not going extinct!! (Sadly)
    The fact is ALL life has the right to live free of bonds and oppression without fearing for their lives or the lives of their children but until the general public gets over their human infatuation and takes our species off the absurd pedestal we consider ourselves the top of this will continue, Over and over and OVER again, so either re educate or let us fund shoot to kill charities, that’s how I found this page, I’m looking to protect all life who do you think represents my polar opposite? also if you eat meat, eggs, or consume any animal products and claim to have an issue with poaching or any other acts of animal barbarism you are Total [ deleted ] Hypocrite, grow a god damn brain!

  99. What if someone is mistaken for a poacher?

    I’m not a fan of the death penalty but if the death penalty is decided upon as a sentence it should be through due process of law. Of course I support the right for authorities to return fire if threatened. But allowing them to shoot anyone and everyone they suspect of poaching inevitably means that people mistaken for poachers will be killed.

    So many comments here and comments pertaining to other issues have taught me over the years that when people are angry enough they forget that mistakes can be made and assume that the good guys fighting the bad guys have some sort of omniscient sense that prevents them from mistaking an innocent person for being one of the bad guys. Remember that the people who are entrusted with stopping the poachers are human beings, and human beings make mistakes. Some of those people acquitted for poaching may have truly been innocent. Of course I recognize that some who are acquitted may have been guilty and got away with it because of a lack of equipment to ascertain evidence. The best way to address this is by giving governments the resources they need to investigate the incident more thoroughly.

  100. This one sticking-point (shoot-to-kill) is the reason the primary school where I teach cannot promote your organisation, despite many children wanting to raise money for it.

  101. The overwhelming consensus is to strike fear into the poachers so that the money incentive becomes much weaker compared to the deterrent effect from fear of suffering a painful death ( as they inflict upon the animals they hunt ) – strong advertising of the reality of shooting poachers should be posted as a high-probability outcome along with the anguish it causes to their family to help keep this poaching from happening.

  102. If we treat our planet as an living organizm and all the living beeings on it as cells of wich each one performs a certain task….then the tasks wich poachers perform are the same as the one cancer does….and the anti-poachers tasks are more like antibodies for it.

  103. While it’s unfortunate it comes down to shooting a person I strongly believe it must be done. The current laws aren’t strict enough to deter these felons. If it was, they wouldn’t be there killing these beautiful animals. Shoot to kill is the only deterrent they really fear. While is painful, it’s absolutely necessary.

  104. Rhino’s are the warriors of the animal kingdom. They fight for protection and our most endangered creature. Please with everything in our power, promise me that we will never side with the disgusts that we call poachers!!!!

  105. You do realize that some of rhino casualties aren’t just from humans. Some come from diseases or injury from a predator. Although some humans are poachers, some people kill them to save them. If 1 rhino in captivity with 50 other rhinos got a contagious disease, if it spread, it could kill all the rhinos in that santuary. We can help rhinos… even if it puts them out of misury

  106. I would argur that it is completely moral and ethical to shhot an armed poacher….wether proactively or in self defense…..a gun is a weopon used to kill…any person who has armed themselves with a gun should do so knowing that their readiness to take life…also,robs them of the protection morality has placed on their lives

  107. “Why was an animal’s life worth more than my son’s?”
    Because there are 7 BILLION people like your son who are less valuable than the animal he kills. Without any real value at all, sad to say.
    We humans are so vain & arrogant, believing we are the Chosen Ones when actually we are the destroyers of nature. Humility is NOT a common human quality.

  108. The problem is stupidity, ignorance or simple exploitative greed among practitioners of traditional medicine in Vietnam and elsewhere, as well as the vanity of the wealthy who use the horns as decoration. They drive the industry. Poachers are scumbags, but they aren’t doing it for the lulz. They’re doing it for money, and they wouldn’t have a job without the demand.

    End users of the horns need to be prosecuted.

  109. To all those who are clamouring for the extrajudicial killing of the poachers, should all the “”legal”” trophy hunters be also shot and killed. Or are trophy hunters less barbaric than the poachers because they can afford to kill the rhinos and elephants for fun and ivory and not for the money?

  110. I wonder how many people that are saying “”kill all poachers”” have ever never lived in a famine stricken country and seen their brothers sisters or children die because they have no money and nothing to eat. I also wonder how many people would take a western medication that has been tested on (and probably killed) captive monkeys which is completely legal and common. I wonder why that is considered different or subject to less outrage than is than killing a rhino for an eastern medicine.

    For the record, I do not stand on the side of the poachers. However, I think before anyone devalues or calls to end any human life, they must consider all aspects.

  111. Also, before you all decide you’re the moral compass who gets to decide who lives and dies, STOP [ deleted ] DRIVING YOUR CAR. The current African drought (climate change anyone?) has killed loads more wildlife this year than poachers. So please, consider YOUR habits before you decide that you are right and others are wrong.

  112. the simple answer is not the ivory , or the poachers . dye the ivory with multiple colors that can be tracked where ever it goes … and ownership is a assins bullet , to have it is death . start a fund to pay for the anonymus killing of dyed ivory …. where ever , when ever it is found… ah , the answer is much easier …. rhino burgers …. when the whole beast is a product , it pays to farm them , cattle have value , cattle russeling is illegal , and results in bad people being shot and killed …. the only way to actualy save these creatures , is to monitize …. or prioritize what your goals really are .

  113. As a poacher myself, I find it genuinely satisfying to kill these rhinos and then cut off their horns. I always think of all the lovely profit that I can acquire myself for this easy and enjoyable task.

    If you decide to shoot poachers, then be warned – we will fight back, with overwhelming force.

  114. If God didn’t want us to poach Rhinos why are they made out of food. I’ll stop shooting pandas when they stop eating dogs in asia. I am skilled poach, I have poached at the highest level for the Chinese Government, I even clambered to the top of Mt Fiji to be trained in the poaching arts.

  115. Personally i don’t think that poachers should be shot onsite, unless there is no other option in a situation which endangers the rhino or the park rangers. Other methods must be put in place to make sure that poachers get longer sentences and are not released on bail.

  116. Wel isnt this a interestin debate mates. I personaly luv the rino, Its a grate specis. It a sham that poachers kil them. pochers are naughty. But i dont thunk they shuld b so ton site .Thanx for the info mates.

  117. pocher Mc poachson and anonymous, i think it is terrible that you are poachers, get of this website now you fiends. You are horrible beings and deserve all of these horrible things. You are a disgrace to the human race. If i find out who you are i will send ranger Boris a message about your horrible mishaps. Im sorry save the rhino for these horrible people making fun of your charity.
    All the best from Dan.

  118. The poachers are scum and are heavily armed and will kill without hesitation , so the people hunting them need some serious firepower.

    Maybe the rangers should ge helicopter gunships the russian mil 24 would be good. It has amazing firepower and can carry troops.
    Lets just get out and kill these scum. The only good poacher is a dead one.

  119. I am doing a research paper on poachers in Africa. I have been reading these comments for the past two days and some of them are so funny. I was laughing so much that people were staring at me in class.

  120. Everyone needs to read the “”The ethics of killing”” paragraph. Honest most of these comments are upsetting, because even though I love animals and hate it when they are subject to poaching and I hate poachers, killing them is not the answer. Take it from their point of view. If I was poor and could not buy any food and the only option to get money and food was to poach, I would do it, but I would be torn apart by every Rhino that I killed. once again I am not saying that I am fine with poaching and that I support it, but that we should not take a humans life because they took one animals life, even though it is terrible. I am also not saying to not do anything about it. we should just sentence them to so many years in prison. I totally agree if the rangers are being threated then they could shoot the poacher in defense, but only if they have to.

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