The Militarization of African Elephant Poaching

  • By ELI
  • September 22, 2012

At Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, wildlife rangers are equipped with rocket launchers, assault rifles, machine guns which they’ll need, as The New York Times reports today, because elephant poaching have become the latest conflict resource in Africa and the target of African armies. The Times‘s Jeffrey Gettleman has your morning read (if you’re looking for something other than the various profiles of Julian Castro) with a stunning and horrifying feature on the awful consequences–elephants being slaughtered 10, 20, 30 at a time–of the underground ivory trade where armies (like the Ugandan military, the Congolese Army, and South Sudan’s military) are joining poachers and upping the game on underground ivory trade thanks to tools like military helicopters. Even Joseph Kony makes an appearance in this epidemic which, Gettleman explains, crisscosses Africa from Congo and the Central African Republic to Darfur, Mombasa, and the Gulf of Guinea.

And as Gettleman reports, one of the most disturbing things is that the U.S. and its taxpayer money is, albeit indirectly, doing its part in making helicopter poaches possible.

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