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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 January 2019

Beyond the Headlines: In Central African Republic, poaching thrives in the chaos

Illegal animal parts are big business in the chaotic African state. We examine in this week's podcast

A suspected poacher rests in the shade after being arrested, waiting to be taken to a holding cell. Constant — a father-of-one in his late 30s whose wife is pregnant with their second child — said hunting was the only way he could make ends meet for his family: “There are no opportunities. I do this to survive.” People living around the Chinko reserve are among the most marginalised and impoverished communities in the world. Jack Losh / The National
A suspected poacher rests in the shade after being arrested, waiting to be taken to a holding cell. Constant — a father-of-one in his late 30s whose wife is pregnant with their second child — said hunting was the only way he could make ends meet for his family: “There are no opportunities. I do this to survive.” People living around the Chinko reserve are among the most marginalised and impoverished communities in the world. Jack Losh / The National

In the middle of Africa lies one of the world's most neglected crises. In the Central African Republic — an environmentally diverse but politically fraught state — the illegal hunting of endangered species is rampant.

How did the country become such a hotbed for poaching, and is there hope to rectify the situation? We look at the issue in this week's Beyond the Headlines podcast. Listen here:

Chinko is a wildlife refuge in the eastern part of CAR and one of the most uniquely diverse ecological landscapes in Africa. It's also home to communal violence and combative groups vying for control of some of the country's most valuable resources — illegal animal parts.

The National's Campbell MacDiarmid speaks to experts and conservationists who explain the chaotic situation in CAR, and offer insights into how the country can start trying to resolve the issue.

* Correction: Jack Losh has worked in the Central African Republic since January 2018, not for several years as stated in the podcast recording.

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Updated: January 4, 2019 11:33 AM

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