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Meet The American Woman Who Tracks Down And Kills Elephant Poachers

Protecting Animals

Kinessa Johnson, from Washington, is risking her life to save elephants and rhinos from poachers in Africa. On average 187 rangers are killed per year by poachers who are trying to get the horns of elephants and rhinos.

But Johnson is not stranger to danger. The U.S. Army veteran served four years in Afghanistan as a weapons instructor and mechanic. She joined VETPAW as an anti-poaching advisor where her team provides training in marksmanship, field medicine and counterintelligence, while also patrolling with them to provide support.

According to the WWF, the current rates of extinction shows that at least 20% of the planet’s species could be gone in the next 30 years. The Black Rhinos’ population has decrease by 97.6% since 1960.

Africa’s New War: Elephant slaughter has reached an all time high rate

One way activists are supporting the cause to end poaching is by enlisting retired U.S. veterans, like Kinessa Johnson, to use her years of combat overseas to protect African wildlife from being illegally hunted and bagged.

Because while the tattooed army veteran is a hunter, it’s the animals she’s protecting, not shooting for sport. Johnson, from Washington, poaches poachers in Africa in order to preserve endangered wildlife from becoming extinct.

“Our intention is not to harm anyone; we’re here to train park rangers so they can track and detain poachers and ultimately prevent poaching,” she said. “Most of the time anyone that is in a reserve with a weapon is considered a threat and can be shot if rangers feel threatened.

Johnson and her team arrived in Tanzania on March 26th where elephant slaughter has reached an unprecedented rate, which many are branding as “Africa’s new war.” “Our goal is to prevent trigger pulling through strategic movements and methods of prevention.”

The rangers in Tanzania were in desperate need of help as 187 rangers were killed by poacher last year alone when they were attempting to guard the rhinos and elephants. “We’re going over there to do some anti-poaching, kill some bad guys, and do some good.” Johnson says.

20% of the planet’s species could be gone in the next 30 years


“It’s no use having laws against ivory smuggling if the legislation is not enforced properly.” Says Mary Rice of the Environmental Investigations Agency.

Though VETPAW does not operate with the intent to kill anyone, “protecting their country’s natural resources is most important overall.” writes Johnson. Their primary objective is to enforce the existing poaching law and I would highly recommend that any prospective rhino poachers don’t prod this All-American-Badass.

Every twenty minutes, 3,500 people are born into the world, yet at that very same moment, an entire species of plant or animal will die forever.

According to the WWF, the current rates of extinction shows that at least 20% of the planet’s species could be gone in the next 30 years. For example, the Black Rhino, whose population has decrease by 97.6% since 1960.

Rhino horns are now selling at $30,000 per pound which is more than the street value of cocaine! So its is no wonder why criminal gangs use high powered technology and weaponry to track as many animals as possible.

Endangered animals are slaughtered so that a single body part such as horns, pelts, and bones can be sold on the black market then ‘carved into religious figurines or used by toddler-sized men to cure their sexual helplessness.’

 “At current poaching rates, elephants, rhinos, and other iconic African wildlife may be gone within our lifetime.” Writes the African Wildlife Foundation.

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Written by Joe Kahlo