Sunday, 29 December 2013

Charity Appeal: 'The way to stop poaching is to use people like me,' says man jailed for cutting off dead elephant's tusks

Joseph Maina had never seen an elephant up close before. The first time he looked into the eyes of one of Africa's giants, he was hacking off its tusks with an axe. The elephant was dead and he was ripping it apart to obtain ivory. He had been paid 500 Kenyan shillings, or a little over £3.50 for the work – twice his normal daily income.

The 47-year-old casual worker is now in a medium security prison. Unlike the majority of poachers who kill African elephants and leave them to rot in the bush, he was arrested the next day. The father of six is serving four and a half years inside Naivasha Prison. He wears a black and white striped uniform and sleeps with up to 80 other convicts on mattresses on the floor. He is one of around 800 inmates. He never thought he would end up here.

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