Every twenty minutes, 3,500 people are born into the world, yet at that very same moment an entire species of plant or animal will die forever.
According to the WWF, the current rates of extinction show that as many as 20% of the planet’s species could be gone in the next 30 years. Take for instance the Black Rhino, whose population has decrease by 97.6% since 1960.
With Rhino horns now selling at $30,000 per pound—more than the street value of cocaine—it is no wonder why crime syndicates use high powered technology and weaponry to track as many animals as possible. Endangered animals are slaughtered so that a single body part—horns, pelts, and bones—can be sold on the black market then carved into religious figurines or used by toddler-sized men to cure their sexual helplessness.
“At current poaching rates, elephants, rhinos, and other iconic African wildlife may be gone within our lifetime.” Writes the African Wildlife Foundation.
One way activists are supporting the cause to end poaching is by enlisting retired U.S. veterans, like Kinessa Johnson, to use her years of combat overseas to protect African wildlife from being illegally hunted and bagged.
Johnson, A U.S. Army veteran who served four years in Afghanistan, joined VETPAW as an anti-poaching advisor where her team provides training in marksmanship, field medicine and counterintelligence, while also patrolling with them to provide support. Apparently they were in desperate need of help as they lost 187 rangers last year alone attempting to guard the rhinos and elephants.
“We’re going over there to do some anti-poaching, kill some bad guys, and do some good.” Johnson says.
Johnson and her team arrived in Tanzania on March 26th where elephant slaughter has reached an unprecedented rate, which many are branding as “Africa’s new war.”
“It’s no use having laws against ivory smuggling if the legislation is not enforced properly.” Says Mary Rice of the Environmental Investigations Agency.
Though VETPAW does not operate with the intent to kill anyone, “protecting their country’s natural resources is most important overall.” writes Johnson. Their primary objective is to enforce the existing poaching law and I would highly recommend that any prospective rhino poachers don’t prod this All-American-Badass.