Israel’s highly developed security expertise is being employed to stop the slaughter of elephants in Africa.
Nir Kalron is a 36-year-old security expert. He and his team are now helping park rangers in Africa hunt down poachers before they kill elephants for their tusks.
Kalron’s Maisha Consulting teaches a wide array of tactics to help stop poachers, helps install high-tech systems to catch the elephant killers in their tracks and runs investigations into ivory trafficking.
According to Kalron, he adapts his training and methods to each country where he works.
“The threats are different in each country,” Kalron told Israel21c during a recent interview. “So you have to modify your training to the specific needs. The essence of our training is making a connection to the rangers on the ground. We know every one of them and keep in contact.
We’ve even lost some of them, killed in action.”
Even with Kalron and his team working hand-in-hand with rangers, the problem is still enormous.
An estimated 35,000 elephants are killed each year for their tusks and other animals are also at risk.
Rhino tusks and leopard skins are a hot commodity on the black market, garnering prices worth the risk for most poachers.
Illegal logging also destroys habitats and clears the way for poachers, placing animals and the environment and the risk in another way.
“If you cut into the earth and deplete its natural resources, then we’re screwed. It’s not like drug trafficking, which has been going on for decades and is status quo,” Kalron said. “On the environment side, if the situation continues there is no status quo. There is permanent loss.”
Despite the task ahead of him, however, Kalron and the team at Maisha have no plans to give up.
Working in cooperation with African governments and NGOs such as the Wildlife Conservation Society and World Wildlife Fund, Kalron plans to try to stop the poachers any way he can.
“There won’t be anything to conserve without harsh measures in security and enforcement against wildlife trafficking as there are in drug trafficking,” he said, vowing to continue the risky business of saving elephants’ and other wildlifes’ lives.