A common rhino horn can be worth up to $640,000 on the black market, which is double the price of gold and more than cocaine in some markets, says Mount Annan's Andrew Rogers.
This was part of the 29-year-old's reason for packing up his life and leaving his job at Macquarie University as a counter-insurgency associate lecturer to join the International Anti Poaching Foundation in Zimbabwe for at least six months.
"The extent of the poaching problem is so acute that action is needed now," he said.
"There's also an animal lover in me that detests the abhorrent ways in which the animals are killed."
Mr Rogers is due to leave Sydney for Zimbabwe next week to assist the International Anti Poaching Foundation's founder Damien Mander in developing a surveillance program for the foundation's drone program.
He will also help collect the data from the drones to create an analytical intelligence platform.
"These poaching operations are run by organised crime outfits," he said. "We're talking billions of dollars a year in organised crime trafficking of wildlife and wildlife products."
Mr Rogers said black rhino numbers have dwindled across the African continent to fewer than 5000.
"If poaching continues at this rate (446 killed this year) there will be no rhinos left in the wild by 2018."
Mr Rogers said poachers were mostly untrained and unskilled at killing animals humanely. More....