COMACO, Community Markets for Conservation, is an organization trying a novel way to stop poachers – invest in training them for other jobs and then pay them to put those skills to work.
The U.S. Agency for International Development has helped with funding, which is scheduled to be stopped in 2019. Yet, COMACO is hoping to be self sufficient by then. The project has not only been successful, but also profitable. It’s Wild!, a Zambian COMACO food company, purchases agricultural products sold by COMACO farmers. It had $2.6 million in sales in 2014.
Former poachers are now farmers, beekeepers, and carpenters. So far, the failure rate (those choosing to return to poaching) is only 5%.
It’s clear that law enforcement is only one technique to stop poaching. The far more peaceful approach COMACO is taking may be the best answer yet reducing the problem.
Interested in supporting them? Check out their website.