Professors Kapla and Warchol research Abalones in South Africa

TripDoctors Dale Kapla and Greg Warchol, Criminal Justice Professors, traveled to South Africa in June on an NMU Faculty Grant to conduct research on wildlife conservation crime in the Western Cape. Working with two University of South Africa professors, Kapla and Warchol spent time at Jonkershoek Nature Reserve interviewing conservation law enforcement officers about the problems of illegal hunting. This reserve had a serious problem with plant and reptile poaching. Those involved in this illegal activity were mainly foreigners from Eastern Europe and Asia. They included collectors of rare plants and animals and several well known biologists in search of rare specimens. 

Kapla and Warchol also met with supervisory field rangers at Cape Agulhas National Park and Table Mountain National Park. These two areas are notorious for the illegal harvesting of Abalone, an endangered shellfish. Abalone is also highly sought after as a delicacy in both South Africa and Asia. It can reportedly be sold for as much as $1,000 per pound at the retail market in some Asian countries. While at Table Mountain, Warchol and Kapla were able to participate in the confiscation of about 40 pounds of illegally harvested abalone secreted by a poacher, but discovered by field rangers prior to pick up.

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(Abalone being counted at the Cape Town Police Station)


(High speed inflatable boat used by abalone poachers)


(Poacher’s boats confiscated by police in Cape Town)


(Diving bag of illegally harvested Abalone secreted in the brush at Table Mountain National Park)


(Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, Western Cape of South Africa)


(Table Mountain National Park Coastline)


(Cape Agulhas Light House - Cape Agulhas is the southern-most point in Africa)


(Kapla at Cape Agulhas)


(Warchol at Cape Agulhas)