She Hunted History’s Worst Arms Dealers. Now She’s Taking on Rhino Poachers.
Kathi Lynn Austin is on a global chase to stop the flow of guns threatening to wipe the rhinoceros off the face of the Earth.
Photos courtesy Kathi Lynn Austin | Edited by Shawna Kenney
Kathi Lynn Austin pulls the trigger of a pistol at a shooting range outside Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. It’s a fall afternoon in 2015, and she’s wearing jeans, cowboy boots and a scarf — her standard uniform when out in the field. She fires the gun with sweaty palms and a thumping heart. The men who invited her to the shooting range are the top players in the very crime syndicate Austin is here to investigate. She is working to gain their trust in hopes of getting information about the illegal pipeline of rifles used in southern Africa’s mass rhino slaughter, which is threatening to wipe the species off the face of earth. Austin pulls the trigger again. There’s lots of recoil, but she makes some decent hits, glad to not make a complete fool of herself.
Over the past 30 years, Austin has chased weapons traffickers and war profiteers around the world, but never once carried a gun. Now, the arms-trafficking expert is not on…