Today we're posting more excerpts from the article we posted earlier this week about the issues around anti-poaching initiatives in Africa
Much is written about brave rangers on the frontline of the wildlife war – very little about shoddy pay and working conditions. A study of 570 game rangers conducted by WWF last year found 82% had experienced a life-threatening situation, yet 59% did not have basic supplies like boots, tents and GPS devices, and 42% had not received proper training. Health insurance, life insurance and long-term disability cover were almost absent. Peter Newland, director at a private security company in Kenya, says donors want to see sexy, high-tech solutions like drones and ground sensors, “not hear about the need for warm clothing, boots and better food for rangers.”
It’s not just the human cost of militarisation that’s in question, but its effectiveness. In South Africa, more than 1 000 rhinos continue to be poached each year despite international donors ploughing in R438 million in 2015, which dramatically upped the militarisation of Kruger National Park. With visitors to Kruger having to contend with helicopters overhead and police cars rushing along roads, this effort should be making headway. Yet the poachers have simply moved elsewhere; in 2017, the 24% decline in rhino poaching in Kruger was offset by a 50% increase in KwaZulu-Natal. With park rangers being bribed or threatened to join poaching gangs, officials admit they are making little headway in the rhino war.
Around Kruger Park, some 40 000 livelihoods are supported by tourism, but nearly three million people live in poverty.
Image: Kenya Wildlife Service rangers on patrol at the Meru National Park. Image Source: Flickr/IFAW