The Poaching of Life (warning – disturbing images)

I recently met Director and Founder Jax Metcalfe of Poaching Prevention while on a train in the United Kingdom. Her passion for protecting animals slowly being poached to extinction, at first, seemed so different than that of the Jo’el Worldwear team. However, the more we shared about our work, the more I could see that we were both founders, fighting for the rights of others through awareness campaign and action. In her case, for animals, and in my case, for humans. 

At Jo’el, we support artisans worldwide, whose lives and the lives of their children were tragically interrupted by trafficking and other severe crisis’. After time with Jax, I saw that humans are “poached,” in a sense, just like animals. The difference is, animals are killed and exploited for their valuable horns or tusks, or they are used as prized game for someone’s wall, as a food delicacy or for fictional afrodisiac characteristics. 

Men, women and children, on the other hand are kept alive to be exploited for sex, domestic servitude or hard labor.

Poaching Prevention is committed to helping park managers in parts of Africa and Asia identify when and where poachers will strike, so that they may deploy units to these high risk areas and intercept the poachers before they kill animals. Jax’s Co-Founder Thomas Snitch, a professor at Bowling Green State University and CEO of GeoQuera, developed a supercomputer-based capability to help Rangers predict when and where poachers would enter a park or reserve. Their analytical models also approximated where the rhinos were likely to be, and the modus operandi of the poachers in that area. Today, describes how using state-for-the-art technology such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) accurately tracks poachers. I only wish that law enforcement could track human traffickers the same way! The Internet is the domain for tracking organized crime syndicates and gangs trading people. Either way,  profiteers are “taking without permission and using as one’s own.” – a definition of poaching.

In the early 1900s, there were over a half million rhinos, but since 2013, reports indicate there were just 20,405 white rhinos and 5,055 black rhinos left in Africa. African elephants could be extinct in the wild within 10 to 20 years, if poaching continues at its current level. 

More surprising, is the fact that many African park rangers have lost their lives in the line of duty, killed by poachers. 

This is much the same for law enforcement, who often protect their identity while tracking human traffickers. Trafficking in persons nets more than weapons or drug trade since humans can be sold again and again. The traffickers are well funded, too often backed by big silent unseen financiers. 

In the near future, Jo’el hopes to collaborate with Poaching Prevention on designs that local communities, centered near poaching areas might create to help fight this dreadful problem. If you have any design ideas and would like to share, leave a comment. If you’d like to help Poaching Prevention, visit:

Here’s to ALL living creatures!


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