Poachers ‘increasing firepower’

POACHERS across Africa are becoming more militarised and are using increased firepower and tactics to target elephants and rhinos, a study has found.

The Small Arms Survey for 2015 has, for the first time, studied poaching in Africa and examined the role weapons play.

The researchers say poachers are increasingly using military weapons to counteract tactics by law enforcement.

The Small Arms Survey is an independent research project based in Switzerland that provides information on small arms and light weapons.

“There is a ramping up of weapons and methods,” chief researcher on poaching Khristopher Carlson said.

He said one way to combat poaching would be to collect ballistics from kill sites to try to identify the arms supplier.

In South Africa, police have been using forensics at old rhino kill sites and report that the project has been successful.

-Shaun Smillie

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