An exclusive investigation by The Guardian has revealed two Vietnamese brothers as the ringleaders in a smuggling route for the booming $23 billion wildlife trafficking industry.
The Bach brothers -- 38-year-old Bach Mai and 45-year-old Bach Van Limh -- run a key smuggling route for traders and poachers to send parts of animals that locals believe are lucky or part of traditional methods.
The data came from Freeland, an anti-trafficking group that kept data secret but opened up after nations failed to hinder trafficking sufficiently.
Just how big is this problem?
It's bleak. And not just for animals like this rhino.
By the numbers:
- 30,000 rhinos are alive today, 5 percent of the population four decades ago
- 1,000 rhinos and 20,000 elephants a year are killed by poachers
- The United States put up a $1 million reward to catch wildlife trader Vixay Keosavang, but The Guardian found he hasn't been in the game for years
- One animal trader was earning up to $14,400 a week (roughly $750,00 a year) for slaughtering animals and shipping their carcasses
- A rhino horn can sell for as much as $65,000 per kilogram
Smaller animals are in danger too. Lately, pangolins (pictured above) and certain species of turtles and birds have come under poacher's targets.
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