Magnum Foundation

Magnum Foundation

The Militarization of Anti-Poaching: Pete Muller’s Notes from the Field (part 5 of 5)

These rangers face an extraordinary uphill battle. After nearly 30 years without security forces, the preserve into which they’ll deploy is lawless and fraught with risk. While home to fantastic biodiversity, it is also inhabited by armed groups and traversed by violent poachers and smugglers. After following these trainers through several countries, it is fascinating to observe the difference in anti-poaching capacity between various African states. While a country like Kenya remains highly affected by poaching, it possesses comparatively strong state institutions capable of making at least modest progress. In northern DR Congo, the state is virtually non-existent, the terrain in question is remarkably difficult to control, and dangerous armed groups lurk in proximity to animal populations. Such locations—where conflict, resources and instability meet—are often where the struggle to save wildlife is most difficult.