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Life on the Job: Poachers and their Victims

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

This is one of the most difficult articles I have ever written. As a primatologist and conservationist, with more than 20 years on the ground, I have had numerous first hand encounters with poachers and the remains of their slain victims. But I have never seen anything more horrifying than what these poachers left behind.

I sincerely want to thank Adams Cassinga for his dedication to saving wildlife and risking his life to do so...and for letting me share his story.

Here's a few stats:

  • Bonobos, an endangered great ape with a population that may be as low as 10,000, face serious threats from hunting for bushmeat and for the live trade.

  • Conserv Congo, an NGO based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the only country where bonobos occur, actively pursues poachers, seeking to achieve arrests and convictions.

  • In February 2020, a team from ConservCongo disrupted bonobo poachers in action. The poachers fled, but left behind a gravely wounded mother bonobo, and a mobile phone containing images that depict the brutal realities of how the apes are killed and captured.

"The poachers, operating on familiar terrain, managed to escape but left four things behind: a homemade hunting rifle, a machete, a phone, and a bound and bleeding bonobo." Click to read the full article.


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