Fighting to hack apart poaching networks
By Yvonne Fontyn, Business Day
Julian Rademeyer is one of the most authoritative voices on the seemingly irresolvable problem of the illegal trade in rhino horn. But the former Sunday Times journalist, now working as a senior research fellow at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, says he became involved in this area of wildlife reporting “by chance”.
In 2010, as a member of Media24’s investigative unit, Rademeyer was looking into police corruption, working on a story that involved a South African farmer arrested in Zimbabwe for selling rifles to wildlife poachers.
“The weapons had been stolen in a farm attack. The story led to other stories,” he says, adding that it was symptomatic of the rhino poaching issue, in that it was complex and far-reaching, involving not only individual criminals but also organised crime and state and police corruption and inefficiency.
“What attracted me to this issue is that rhino horn has no real intrinsic value, yet it fetches higher prices than gold and platinum.
“The lengths criminals will go to to get their hands on it are extraordinary,” says the award-winning journalist and author of Killing for Profit: Exposing the Illegal Rhino Horn Trade.