Interview with an Ex-Poacher, Rwanda
by Lisa Jorgensen, Lead Wildlife Researcher with KwF
Interview conducted and translated by Greg, with Amahoro Tours
The Nature of Poaching: Why Do Poachers Poach?
Q: How old are you now and how old were you when you were introduced to poaching? A: I am 42 years old, when I started poaching I was 16 years old.
Q: How were you introduced to poaching? A: Due to poverty as a young man, it was the way our fathers and their fathers earned a living, that’s how I was introduced.
Q: What level of education do you have currently? A: Church school is all I could get for free, so that’s where I learned how to read and write, and as years went on I got exposed and went to the school of life, and after poaching I went to adult school, where I advanced.
Q: Tell me about the community in which you lived before poaching and now. A: I lived close to the forest whereby the men did poaching as a way of earning a living, and women stayed home. Now I got an opportunity as a driver-guide.
Q: How do you feel about the animals you poach(ed)?
A: I am not proud of what I did, and there is no day that passes by when I don’t think about them, but it was the only means of survival that I ever knew, and when I learned better I stopped.
Q: Do you view them as sentient beings?
A: Yes, I do, that’s why I stopped what I was doing.
Q: Approximately how many animals have you poached? A: Truth is, I never really counted because it wasn’t right to count them.
Q: What types of animals do/did you poach?
A: We did poach anything that we could feed on, antelopes, buffaloes.
Q: Do/did you enjoy poaching?