Who is the Poacher in Modern African Mythology? EPISODE 5 & 6



John Coleman, a Rhodesian game ranger turned professional hunting guide, who operated throughout south-central Africa for most of his adult life, had this to say (verbatim) about commercial poaching in Zambia, in an open letter to American Dr Andre Degeorges:

“I have been a game ranger in Rhodesia and then a professional hunter (hunting guide) for most of my life. Therefore, I have been directly and/or indirectly involved in anti-poaching work in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia.

“I agree with you” (Degeorges), Coleman said, “that under present conditions and over-population of humans, the only way to curb poaching to any extent, locally, is to police very effectively and diligently. The problem is that politicians are involved and members of National Parks and Game Departments are in peril of dismissal or worse, if they persist in anti-poaching operations, particularly if it affects those politicians. Politicians must be held accountable and actively pursued and punished. The only people who can do this, however, are world leaders”

Now… to deal with dwindling elephant populations due to poaching!
“In many of the areas that were and are heavily poached, Coleman explains, the elephants were, to a great degree, heavily over-populated. A certain amount of culling, therefore, should have been done, despite rabid opposition from anti-hunters and ‘greens’. These people managed to persuade leading politicians to get all legal hunting banned, thus clearing the way for poachers to take over.

The politicians benefitted in two ways as a result: they got money from the ‘persuasion’ and they got involved, themselves, in the lucrative ivory and rhino horn poaching business. How do you counter that in countries where the presidents and other politicians are not held accountable for their crimes?

“In Africa, to a great extent, leaders are democratic dictators and can and will do as they wish. An example of this is in Zambia. In the 1980s over 75 000 elephants, and all the remaining black rhinos, were annihilated by (poacher) gangs and the army, (who were all) working directly for the senior politicians.

Most remaining elephants disappeared, moving out of the country. “A few years after the new government stopped the poaching, by using drastic anti-poaching methods, many of the elephants returned and there is now a fairly viable population again.

“The only short term, practical way to stop poaching and to stop the trade in ivory and rhino horn, is to drastically police and to target all middlemen and traders in these products. NO MARKET! NO SALE! For this to work, however, all world governments have to be involved actively and to actively pursue the culprits.

“Can this be done in time? You tell me!”


Another quote from John Coleman:
“Of course there is rampant poaching of elephants in Africa. The main culprits are high ranking politicians and army generals, right up to presidents themselves.

“For example, when I was operating safaris in Zambia during the 1980s ‘that so-called wonderful leader’,

Kenneth Kaunda, was reputed to be directly responsible for organizing the slaughter of at least 75 000 elephants. (After the killing began) the only places we saw a few miserable, almost tuskless, elephants were near our hunting camps.

The army and game rangers did most of the slaughtering and one could hear AK47s firing in the game reserve almost daily. There were many wounded animals because they (the incompetent poachers) just left them (wounded) if they couldn’t kill them; and I shot a few of the poor suffering beasts. I dared not to report it, however, because I would have been accused of plotting against the state and of poaching, apart from being accused of being a spy.

“Also, all the remaining black rhino were annihilated by these same people and by the employees of ‘Save the Rhino’ (an NGO) that had been donated Land Cruisers and .458s (heavy caliber hunting rifles). Guess what this NGO used the vehicles and the rifle for!”

I have John’s permission to quote him. This information, anyway, was circulated world-wide in a round-robin email that was distributed by Andre Degeorges in 2015.




I have reliable information to confirm that there is a strong connection between the administrative staff of the South African Department of the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF), and the rhino poachers who plunder the country’s very successful white rhino farms.

Corruption, therefore, in South Africa, is clearly as rife here as it is everywhere in Africa. And the poachers, in this case, are part of the country’s civil service. But, even though I don’t expand on this statement, doesn’t mean to say that this criticism is not a valid observation. Rest assured there is evidence to corroborate what I say has happened!

I have sworn, however, not to reveal my evidence and not to expose my sources of information. Many South African rhino farmers have been threatened with ‘extinction’ by these nefarious people. T.I.A – This is Africa – and our rhino farmers take threats on their lives very seriously.

I am not going to expand on this accusation, however, because DEFF never answer anybody’s correspondence anyway!

This report exposes the truth (the facts) about the commercial poaching of elephants and rhinos in Africa. It tells you, in no uncertain terms, just WHO the REAL poachers are on this continent. And it exposes the myth, the non-existent threat, that constantly emanates from the animal rights brigade when they say for example that if CITES allows any sovereign state even just one once-off-sale of ivory (or rhino horn), that this will encourage the poachers to step up their poaching activities; and that the poachers will then use such a once-off sale to launder (to mask) the sale of their illegal ivory (and/or rhino horn).

Once-off CITES sales of ivory (or rhino horn), the animal rightists claim, are smoke-screens behind which mountains of illegal activities can take place. Once-off sales of ivory, the animal rightists say, are the cause of commercial poaching! WHAT UTTER NONSENSE!

Can you imagine any of the big elephant poacher players, that is, any one of the presidents of Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia (or their proxies) paying any attention at all to a CITES permit that allows for the sale of even just twenty tons of ivory into the international ivory market?

The presidents (or whoever their employed poachers are) of any or all these countries, if they really want to play in the illegal ivory field, will create their own rules-of-the-game and proceed regardless.

So! Who are the poachers who are discussed so often and so convincingly by the NGOs at CITES and by the members of the CITES Secretariat? Work it out for yourselves! They are nowhere near the ruffians that everybody conjures up in their minds. Up till now the poachers comprise Africa’s political and business elites who couldn’t care a fig about what CITES has to say about their organized-crime affairs.

And now that you know who and what they are, just what are you going to do about them? I rest my case!

Ron Thomson

CEO True Green Alliance

Who is the Poacher in Modern African Mythology?







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