How to Stop the Poaching of Endangered Species, the Shepherd Solution…

Now I have never claimed to be a smart individual, too much time in front of the TV on the couch, but I am adept at recognising a good idea when it echoes around the vast emptiness of my skull.

Sitting on said couch a little while ago it occurred to me that the western approach to saving endangered species from poachers is just not working! Trying to force your beliefs on another group of people, no matter how well intentioned, has always been fraught with dangers and is often destined to fail. There are many honourable groups trying to work on this problem but most seem to want to demonize the locals for not doing enough or blame them outright for poaching. Don’t misunderstand me poaching is an evil business but its cause is a human survival one.

The problem with the demonization is it doesn’t take into account the fact that above all people are survivors, most people around the world will do what needs to be done to survive, including poaching, and all people have a right to make a living and survive.



Following this train of thought it seemed logical to me at the time that the solution to the animal apocalypse occurring around the world, especially via poaching,  is to give the people living in those areas a job, there is even a title for that job already, a shepherd. It’s about giving people options. This can be applied to all countries around the word and could also help to address the rampant unemployment spreading almost as fast the species die off.

So the simple solution is for all governments around the world to chip in to pay locals to shepherd the animals, look after them and make sure they are safe, a new generation of watchers. This would remove the temptation to kill them and sell them while also helping to solve the poverty problems gripping the world.

Base the payments on each animal kept alive, and add to the payments for each new young animal kept alive and you could change the equation, making these animals more valuable alive than dead. The ivory trade is still to this day worth 10 billion dollars a year so we aren’t talking small amounts of money being required. The thing I like about this idea the most though is instead of money being made from the death of these animals money would be made keeping them alive. Still this is the most challenging aspect of the idea, who will pay?

Tree Kangaroo

These shepherds may also need technological support and maybe even some type of military support to fight back against the poachers in some parts of the world but the UN has plenty of Blue hats sitting around waiting for the next war to happen.

And yes of course this is a simplification, this is a large and complex issue requiring many parties to come together and much money committed, but I thought it an important enough a subject to just get the ball rolling and put it out there. It shouldn’t be as difficult as it seems to be.

It may be a simplification, it would be expensive and politicians may have to become involve but the cost of a lack of diversity may be an even greater issue to us all. Just putting it out there, it’s just an idea I’ve had rattling around in my head for a while. As always consider the facts, make up your mind and always remember sometimes you have to stand up and fight for what you believe, that’s just life.

Buddha’s Brother out…


Image 1: Jaguar via PublicDomainPhotos
Image 2: Jaguar via EndangeredEarth
Image 3: Rhino via PublicDomainImages
Image 4: TreeKangaroo via LonelyPlace
Image 5: Gorilla  via PublicDomainImages