Killing for Profit by Julian Rademeyer – The book and my thoughts.

Killing for Profit

I currently reside in the UK and regularly find myself yearning for the openness of the African bush. But, keeping up to date with happenings in Africa is easy since the advent of 24hour news and social media. That’s how I stumbled onto Julian Rademeyer on Twitter. It was soon after this that I saw him promoting his book – Killing for Profit.


"Killing for Profit - Julian Rademeyer - Book Review"



I’ve long been a supporter and activist for rhino conservation. Over the years I’ve tried to educate and campaign against the needless poaching that has been a scourge in Southern Africa since the 1960’s. My love for these Jurassic creatures was fire up in me after I read a book as a teenager called Operation Rhino by John Gordon Davis.

So, while on a trip back to South Africa in December (ironically to go to Hluhluwe-Umfolozi with the aim to photograph Rhino) I finally managed to get my grubby mitts on a copy of his book. Having just put it down, I thought a small blog post would be in order.


Impressions of the book

My first impression was how expertly it had been researched. Killing for Profit is clear and direct in how it gets the necessary points across. It documents his investigative journey as he picks up valuable leads along the way while packing in the historical facts and myths that surround this tragic topic. Julian Rademeyer comes from a journalism background and on he has actively sought out and conveyed both sides of the arguments raised. I think this can sometimes be missing in other conservation books because those authors’ passions and beliefs sometimes blur the lines of investigation with passion.

For many years, I wrestled with the belief that rhino farming for their horn might alleviate the problem by flooding the market, but I think that this book has now permanently and correctly, changed my mind for good. Selling rhino horn will only exacerbate the problem.


Government Failings

Along with Chris Mercer’s and Beverley Pervan’s – Kalahari Dream, it has sadly highlighted the extent of the corruption, ambivalence and incompetence of some of the officials who are supposed to be championing conservation in Southern Africa. Julian also covers, in some detail, the inept hunting permit system which leaves gaping holes for pseudo-hunt organisers to exploit.

He covers many of the issues facing the prosecution of those men and woman arrested for trading in rhino horn. From lack of evidence before going to trial, to banning operators in one province, only for them to be allowed to hunt in another province. Occasionally some get convicted, unless they have diplomatic connections, of course.

It’s a book for conservationists, for lovers of wildlife and for people of the planet who believe that all creatures have a place on Earth.


"White Rhino - Wayne Marinovich Wildlife Photography"

White Rhino – What future?


Here are some of the facts I took note of

  • Having seen the ravages of poaching in Africa and India first hand, I now believe that you’ll never get rid of poaching unless you get rid of the reasons for people to do it.
  • The hunting of rhino for sport happens in only two countries nowadays, South Africa and Swaziland.
  • Most of the Rhino “trophies” are a result of scandalous pseudo-hunting, and the horn will end up in Vietnam. A country with no history or tradition of hunting for sport.
  • South Africa has the highest rate of estimated extinction for any area in the world. 37% of its mammal species threatened.
  • Rhino can be bought at auction for R300 000. The minute the person buying it hands over the money, his asset is worth upwards of R1.5 million. They are indeed, worth more dead than alive, unless out in the wild, of course.
  • Many Asian countries have legislation in place which prohibits the use of Rhino horn. If Africa and CITES do lift the ban on trade in horn (selling of stockpiled horn ) they could trade with criminals of those countries. It would still be illegal based on those countries law. It’ll also give credence to the myth that it has medicinal properties.
  • Between Jan 2010 and July 2012, a total of 573 people have been arrested. Few will see the inside of a prison.


Top quote from the book

“In Vietnam, it has become a party drug for the wealthy and a panacea for the rich. And yet, it offers no real scientific benefits. Its value is artificial, founded on myth and propagated by greed” – Julian Rademeyer.


Where to buy Killing for Profit  –  Julian’s website    – Randon Struik publishing  –  Amazon UK shipping – Kindle version also available   – Amazon USA shipping  – Kindle version also available


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