Africa Sustainable Conservation News

News, analysis and comment on conservation and wildlife issues in Africa – this site aggregates news stories and publication does not indicate approval or disapproval of the content. The content is there to inform and initiate debate.

Africa Wildlife and Conservation News, Central Africa, East Africa, Elephants, Southern Africa

British army to use tactics from war with Taliban to train anti-poaching teams in Gabon and Malawi

This is not a good idea – it is not a war in the military sense, and militarisation of anti-poaching alienates and victimises local communities. Gabon and Malawi are not Afghanistan and poachers are not the Taliban. KS


The British army is sending a specialist team of two dozen troops on a mission to East Africa to train local park rangers to fight poachers hunting elephants and black rhinos.

The soldiers, drawn from a variety of army units, will work alongside the rangers. The latter will be trained in such areas as “tracking and counter insurgency tactics,” which the soldiers learned on the battlefield in countries like Afghanistan, where the U.K. is fighting against the Taliban insurgency, the Defense Ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

The U.K. began sending troops to train African rangers in Gabon and Malawi last year. “The training has allowed them to cover far larger distances as they attempt to find criminals who shoot the elephants and rhinos for their valuable ivory,” the statement says.


05_29_RangersBritish trooper and counter-poaching operator Samuel Knuckey, second from right, and Malawian-born British sergeant and counter-poaching operator Kingsley Kachoka, third from left, speak with participants after taking them through a demonstration of field tactics for countering poachers. The counter-poaching training course for game rangers was held at the Liwonde National Park in Malawi on October 14, 2017.AMOS GUMULIRA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES00

“This evil trade is worth £17 billion [$22.5 billion] and poses an existential threat to the planet’s most majestic mammals—it is our duty to preserve them for future generations,” Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said in the ministry’s statement.

Earlier this year, the U.K said it would introduce one of the world’s strictest regulations against the trading of ivory, which is responsible for the poaching of one elephant in Africa every 26 minutes, or around 55 a day, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature.

The U.K. has banned ivory sales on items of all ages, with a maximum penalty of five year-imprisonment. There are narrow exemptions, however, for museum artifacts and musical instruments and items with only a small percentage of ivory in them.

2 thoughts on “British army to use tactics from war with Taliban to train anti-poaching teams in Gabon and Malawi

  1. Wrong in my view ; its a great idea if we wish to have an opportunity to see these animals alive and free from poachers .This is a lucrative business funded from overseas, and in conjunction with world pressure , any anti poaching solutions which hit the poachers hard is worthwhile.

    1. Who is the “we” here? Western animal lovers who don’t see their land taken for conservation projects that impoverish and disempower local people. You need local people benefitti g from conservation not being brutalised and alienated by military counter-insurgency not appropriate for conservation in regions typufied by poverty and deprivation. It is their country not ours and militarisation never works in the long run. Shoot a poor poacher and another onectakes his place. Incentivise a community, empower them and they stop the poachers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: