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The poaching of elephants and rhino to feed the global illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is fuelled by a complexity of system-level factors such as socio-economic inequality, corruption, and consumer demand. Tackling the trade has involved a plethora of strategies from militarised anti-poaching and advanced camera detection technologies to community-based responses and demand reduction.

Supported in part by the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust (OMT), Dr Timothy Kuiper of the University of Cape Town Department of Statistical Sciences and the Department of Biology at the University of Oxford, studies these complex drivers of and responses to wildlife crime. What follows is a summary of the high-level results of two recent research projects, delving into the drivers of Africa-wide elephant poaching, and interventions to reduce rhino poaching in the Greater Kruger, respectively.

What drives poaching and what works to curb it?

2 October 2023

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