The African Poaching Crisis
From WildlifeExtra.com: A new report from Born Free USA accuses the governments of Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Sudan, Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) of supporting elephant and rhino poaching, and public officials there of overlooking, and sometimes even arming, the criminals.
The report, called Ivory’s Curse: The Militarization and Professionalisation of Poaching in Africa was carried out by Born Free USA and C4ADS (an nonprofit organisation dedicated to data-driven analysis and evidence-based reporting of conflict and security issues worldwide).
Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA explains, “Our findings shine a bright light on Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Sudan, and Kenya, where poachers move across borders with near impunity, slaughter elephants with complete disregard, and use the ivory to fund violent operations across the continent. Global leaders cannot stand by while the human tragedy and poaching crisis continue.”
In particular the report alleged:
• From Sudan, government-allied militias complicit in the Darfur genocide fund their operations by poaching elephants hundreds of miles outside North Sudan’s borders.
• In the DRC, state security forces patronise the very rebels they are supposed to fight, providing them with weapons and support in exchange for ivory.
• Zimbabwean political elites, including those under international sanction, are seizing wildlife spaces that either are, or likely will soon be, used as covers for poaching operations.
• In East Africa, al-Shabaab and Somali criminal networks are profiting off Kenyan elephants killed by poachers using weapons leaked from local security forces.
• Mozambican organised crime has militarised and consolidated to the extent it is willing to battle the South African army and well-trained ranger forces for rhino horn.
• In Gabon and the Republic of Congo, ill-regulated forest exploitation is bringing East Asian migrant labourers, and East Asian organised crime, into contact with Central Africa’s last elephants.
• In Tanzania, political elites have aided the industrial-scale depletion of East Africa’s largest elephant population.
Varun Vira, Senior Analyst at C4ADS, says: “Subsistence elephant poaching barely exists anymore. Impoverished locals may pull the triggers but they source to organised crime, which controls the scale of the poaching and nearly all profits. Saving both elephants and local communities will require moving from the bush into the world of global illicit networks in order to target transnational criminal profits. There are infinitely more young Africans willing to shoulder guns and kill elephants than there are containers full of ivory.”
Read the entire report HERE