When you hear about someone whose job is to stop "poachers," you might assume it's some good-hearted animal lover reminding hunters that they're about to shoot the wrong creature. The reality is something closer to all-out war.
In 2013, over 13 tons of ivory were seized in the city of Mombasa alone. That sounds like a lot, but the loss was a drop in the bucket -- around 22,000 elephants are killed by poachers a year, producing nearly 3 million tons of illegal ivory. Those 13 captured tons did about as much financial damage to the industry as an overdue library book would to Robert Downey Jr. There are mountains of money to be made -- rhino horn is literally worth more than its weight in gold on the black market.
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And worth almost half its weight in printer ink.
Why in the hell are horns and tusks in such huge demand? Are people turning them into gaudy hood ornaments? Well, ivory is always wanted for jewelry and carvings, restrictions notwithstanding, while rhino horn is sold illegally for medicinal uses in Asia, causing both demand and price to skyrocket (but not, as commonly believed, because people there think it's an aphrodisiac).
The risk of prison discourages casual poaching but simultaneously encourages poachers to straight up murder people rather than get caught. So now they go into the bush armed like Ted Nugent on a dinosaur safari.