"Adding to the pressure to act is growing evidence that terrorist groups have entered the black market, paying poachers to kill the animals and selling their horns and ivory at a premium to middlemen in the United States and Asia to fund operations ...."
In an article in the Washington Post, conservationists proclaimed that the United States government is not a powerful leader in the battle against poaching around the world. In fact, The Clinton Foundation will be raising eight times the amount that the entire United States government will be allocating for the battle to save the rhino and elephants. The Foundation is raising $80 million to fight poaching and create new wildlife parks.
The Washington Post reports:
Although conservationists view the new U.S. action as not going far enough, they welcomed it as a step forward.
“We are getting to the point of no return,” said Richard G. Ruggiero, a former nongovernment conservationist who is now the Africa branch chief of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of International Conservation.
“We lacked political will in the U.S., overseas and in consumer nations such as China,” he said. “Without political will, there’s nothing.”
Time is rapidly running out.
This month over 300 elephants were poisoned at one time at a watering hole in Africa. In the first three months of 2013, over 150 elephants had been killed in South Africa alone. In the last decade, 11,000 elephants have been slaughtered in Gabon.
Soon American children will never be able to see an elephant or rhino in the wild unless the government does more.
The Post reports on the link between terrorism and poaching.
Adding to the pressure to act is growing evidence that terrorist groups have entered the black market, paying poachers to kill the animals and selling their horns and ivory at a premium to middlemen in the United States and Asia to fund operations such as the deadly Sept. 21 attack on a Kenyan shopping mall by the Somali group al-Shabab, a wing of al-Qaeda.
The nonprofit Elephant Action League (EAL) “found very concrete connections . . . [between] al-Shabab” and poaching in a two-year investigation that ended this year, Executive Director Andrea Crosta said.
Between one and three tons of ivory, worth $200,000 to $600,000, entered Somalia each month through al-Shabab, according to the EAL. It disappeared in the dark hulls of ships and airplanes bound for points worldwide.
“We managed to interview dozens of people, and all implicated them,” Crosta said. “We met poachers, traffickers, big traders, businessmen, ex-Somali warlords. Slowly we began a puzzle, piece by piece. We feel quite comfortable regarding our specific investigation.”
Although the EAL claims to have funded excursions to extract information and relied on Somalis with close contacts in the terrorist network, the report containing anonymous sources is not fully trusted, even among fellow conservationists.
But it says there’s enough evidence to show that the connection between poaching and terror groups is real. Last year, ivory was found by Congolese police who raided a camp of the insurgent Lord’s Resistance Army, which uses children as soldiers.