Jeffrey Gettleman of The New York Times is reporting that the continent of Africa is experiencing epic elephant slaughter at the hands of poachers driven by the need for ivory to sustain war and profits. Conservation groups are reporting that military poachers are murdering tens of thousands of elephants, more than at any other time in the last two decades and that the ivory trade is becoming “militarized.”
“Like blood diamonds from Sierra Leone or plundered minerals from Congo, ivory, it seems, is the latest conflict resource in Africa, dragged out of remote battle zones, easily converted into cash and now fueling conflicts across the continent.
Some of Africa’s most notorious armed groups, including the Lord’s Resistance Army, the Shabab and Darfur’s janjaweed, are hunting down elephants and using the tusks to buy weapons and sustain their mayhem. Organized crime syndicates are linking up with them to move the ivory around the world, exploiting turbulent states, porous borders and corrupt officials from sub-Saharan Africa to China, law enforcement officials say.”
Scientists, park officials and Congolese authorities believe that the Ugandan military has been killing elephants at Garamba National Park located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Ugandan military is one of the Pentagon’s closest partners in Africa. The elephants are shot in the head with a single bullet and then stripped of their tusks. No stone is left unturned as baby elephants are also being slaughtered.
Read more about this story at The New York Times.