Scenes from South Africa's Poaching Crisis

Starting in 2007, South African Johnny Olivier found himself in the middle of an unprecedented rhino poaching scheme you'd have to see to believe. Luckily, we have the photographs to prove it.

Pictured: Members of a South African anti-poaching unit.

(Mike Hutchings/Corbis)

Starting in 2007, South African Johnny Olivier found himself in the middle of an unprecedented rhino poaching scheme you'd have to see to believe. Luckily, we have the photographs to prove it.

Pictured: Members of a South African anti-poaching unit.

A white rhino in Northern Cape province, South Africa. With rhino horn going for $65,000 a kilo in Vietnam, a dead rhino is now worth more than an alive one.

(David Chancellor/Institute)


Punpitak "Peter" Chunchom, trophy collecting in 2010. He often accompanied hunting parties while Chai monitored horn shipments.

(Courtesy of Paul Kvinta)


One of the "hunters" who made the poaching scheme legal. South Africa is one of only two countries that allows people to hunt white rhinos for sport, with a license.

(Courtesy of Paul Kvinta)


Chumlong "Chai" Lemtongthai, trophy hunting in 2010. Two years earlier, his colleagues had been arrested for possession of rhino horns.

(Courtesy of Julian Rademeyer/Killing for Profit)


Rhino horn retrieved from modern-day poaching schemes. From 1980 to 2007, 260 rhinos were killed for their horns. The number has continued to skyrocket, with 668 rhinos killed in 2012 alone.

(Ilya Kachaeu/Reuters)


Marnus Steyl, trophy collecting in 2010. Steyl shockingly walked free after ringleader Chai pled guilty and claimed that his colleagues knew nothing.

(Courtesy of Paul Kvinta)


Chai, the ringleader, with his Hummer, 2010. He bought it from a dealer after hours, paying with money he'd won at a casino that same day.

(Courtesy of Julian Rademeyer/Killing for Profit)


Chai pleads guilty in 2012. Though he begged for mercy, the judge sentenced him to 40 years in prison.

(Lucky Maibi/Getty)

Filed To: Politics / Nature / South Africa
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