By Rhino Girl
Mark Twain once said, ” The LACK of money is the root of all evil.”
I guess that’s why poaching is a multi-million dollar business. In countries such as Kenya, with a 40% unemployment rate, it is a fertile place to find a man willing to risk it all.
And who is looking for a man willing to forfeit his freedom, or even his life?
When we discuss “poachers”, we need to clarify; it is not just one man, or group of men. It is the local man trying to feed his family, but it is also the man at the next level up paying off the local and collecting the “prize”, it is the kingpin at the top putting out the order for the ivory or horn. Poaching is a multi-level business, similar to the drug trade, affecting people at varying levels of economic status.
In 2o11, poachers earned $30 million USD from 165 tons of ivory (which was a total of 15,400 elephant deaths). These numbers were in East Africa alone.
Why are there so many people willing and eager to slaughter these animals?
The price of ivory on the black market is approximately $900 USD per lb. An average sized elephant tusk weighs approximately 25 lbs. So suppose for one elephant death, the poacher is holding a valuable haul of $22,500 USD. An even greater treasure, a single rhino horn fetches $300,000 USD.
In April of 2013, a Chinese man was caught with 439 pieces of ivory. His punishment? A $300 USD fine (that’s less than $1 a piece). As many poachers are multiple offenders, assuming this man got away with it at least once before, he’s already ahead, and only has to face a minor inconvenience. More....