Having watched the taxpayer and Federal Reserve bailout of the financial institutions, the criminal actions of which had collapsed the economy, he realized that the financial system and its regulators were corrupt and committed to protecting the house of cards that corruption had created. The flood of liquidity that was on its way would drive up asset prices instead of consumer prices. He decided to ride the corruption up.
He sold his sailboat and Ferrari and refinanced his home and summer cottage and leveraged the money to the hilt in stocks, paying careful attention to those corporations that were driving up their share prices by repurchasing their own stock in order to award executives and board members performance bonuses.
He knew that this was a house of cards that would collapse, but it continued to stand. The Federal Reserve, Treasury, and financial regulatory agencies resorted to ever more desperate violations of law in order to keep the house of cards supported by a rising stock market.
Soon he had a fortune. It was far short of a billionaire, but he could take $8 million a year in capital gains without hurting his capital.
What to do with the money. He wasn’t into yachts, palaces, and expensive mistresses. He liked sport cars from the 1960s, but the Ferraris had been bid up by collectors’ egos to prices that made a statement about one’s economic class, discrediting in his mind the ownership of the car.
His real love was animals. Unlike humans, animals are not evil, and compared to humans, animals are beautiful and wonderful. The extinction of species, and the decline in the population of gorillas, elephants, rhinos, leopards, cheetahs, lions and other marvelous species disturbed him.
He decided to do something about it.
He travelled to Africa and consulted with the park police established to protect protected areas from poachers and trophy hunters. He learned that poachers could purchase from government officials the patrol pattens of the protective force and, thereby, continue their poaching. With animal populations dramatically declining, he made the decision to create a private army that hunted poachers.
Frustrated members of the sanctuary patrols were his candidates. His offer was $25,000 for every poacher killed. To prevent his recruits from killing innocent people and claiming that they were poachers, claimants had to prove that the person killed was a person on the list of wanted poachers. If the poacher had killed an elephant, leopard, rhino, gorilla, lion or cheetah, proof that the poacher was tortured to death, and the word got out, raised the bounty to $35,000.
To police the process and insure its honesty, he hired radical animal rights activists to be present on the spot to oversee the operation.
He found that he had created an organization that was redressing the imbalance between wildlife and human greed and environmental destruction.
He realized that at any moment the financial house of cards that funded his operation could collapse. He did what he could to hedge his wealth against this collapse, but understood that the suppliers of hedges were as vulnerable as everyone else. His hopes were that he would recognize the collapse as it began and escape the market with minimum losses.
As he awaited the collapse that could terminate his enterprise, signs of a new culture began rising in Africa. Pride in sharing space with unique animals that existed nowhere else became more important than killing the animals for money. Poachers were no longer envied for their fancy cars, but became a hated presence in communities. Social pressure suppressed them as effectively as the firepower of his private wildlife army.
A few African political “leaders” threatened to send government troops to protect the poachers, but these “leaders” were easily assassinated for $50,000.
As women discovered that fur coats brought condemnation instead of admiration, they ceased to have their men purchase them. As Oriental men learned that Viagra was more potent than rhino horn, they ceased to demand rhino horn. As ivory became a mark of criminality, it ceased to convey social and economic status.
One person had made a difference.
He began studying when to magnify his fortune by shorting the stock market prior to the collapse of the house of cards. With the enhanced fortune, he could terminate the slaughter of animal wildlife in the US.
UPDATE: Readers are asking if this is a news story. The answer is no. It is fiction that I wrote. However,
I have learned that Nick Brandt has set up an anti-poaching operation in Africa. Go to this URL and scroll down to read about it. It is deserving of your support. I think sales of his book of African photographs go to the support of the operation. http://www.nickbrandt.com/text_page.cfm?pid=2713