Many species of animals have been targeted for the resources they posses. The demand for the resources has been exponentially rising and it is causing a major population decline in certain species. Many species are affected but Elephants and Rhinos are specifically targeted due to the ivory in their tusks. According to USA Today wildlife poaching is lucrative and has an estimated revenue generation of $19 billion annually. A kilogram of Ivory is said to be around $2,000 and Rhino ivory being even more expensive. The demand for Ivory has been increasing which causes poaching to also increase. In the last two years alone 60,000 elephants and over 1600 rhinos were killed for the ivory in their tusks.
An article on hunting and wildlife trade conducted by wildlife conservation society states that wildlife trade has created an international appetite for exotic goods such as ivory, pelts, traditional medicines and wild bush meat. The trafficking of wildlife products has driven many species to the brink of extinction, ecosystems were severly damaged and it created new dangers for humans like the spread of diseases like monkey pox and sars. The author of this article is from Kenya so the issue is very familiar to him. When he writes there is a sad mood because everyday the author is seeing and hearing about these interactions between the terrorist organizations and the poachers. The author describes the images of the elephant and rhino carcasses after the poachers take their tusks. He uses brutal imagery to describe what happens, it can really connect with the average reader and give a sense of emotion because people know that the elephants are being killed at high rates and there is not much you can go out on a daily base and do about it especially if you live in other countries of the world.
An article from USA today called End the Terror of Ivory Trade states that terrorist organizations are turning to wildlife trafficking for money. Transnational criminal syndicates, terrorist organizations and Islamic extremists are increasingly turning to wildlife trade to fuel revenue for their operations. The demand for ivory and other animal products have skyrocketed and the prices have increased exponentially. The criminal organizations noticed their was money to be made and they have been able to capitalize on their investments and fuel their organizations. The enormous amounts of money paired with trans-African corruption, extreme poverty, poor law enforcement capabilities and weak judicial enforcement have led to a thriving illicit industry. The article from USA today contains material that is truthful and informative of the issue. It gives you a basic understanding of the issue and it also explains what is considering to be done. In the article it states that the U.N. and the Financial Action Task force could work with high risk countries like Kenya and South Africa to improve their intelligence capabilities and make an effort to track the trade routes used by poachers, and discover financial trails of ivory that may lead them to the terrorist organizations. The article gives you something to think about which is that on a global scale this is a major problem and it needs to be taken care of and quickly because these species are on the brink of extinction and these terrorist groups are acquiring a lot of revenue from the ivory which could also be a major threat.
The Stimson Center a respected Washington D.C. think tank states that the spike in poaching and wildlife crime correlates with the increased involvement of sophisticated transnational organized criminals and terrorist organizations. Al-Shabab an Al Qaeda affiliate recently carried out an attack in Nairobi’s Westgate mall, which is in the capital of Kenya killing 72 people. This organization now reportedly generates over 40% of its revenue from illicit ivory trade. This article has a lot of information about the connections between the ivory business and terrorist organizations. They say that the organizations must be charged and taken action against to end the illegal wildlife trade. These organizations are definitely not the only ones trying to tap into the ivory business. There are most likely multiple different sub groups that make up different ivory markets all around the world. These organizations are big players in the industry but it is also such a lucrative and large business that it is going to take a lot more than stopping the terrorist organizations to put an end to the illicit business for good.
Wildlife trade is a major global problem but locally it has a much bigger impact. The trade damages the livelihood of the poorest people who depend on natural resources to support their families. The residents of these towns in Africa which poaching is high is disrupted by the illegal trade and it disrupts the development of the communities. The increase in rhino and elephant ivory is partly due to affluence in developing nations. The poaching of elephants and rhinos for ivory also damages wildlife-based tourism, which supports thousands of jobs. The poachers are often involved in organized criminal networks with links to extremist groups that fuel the trade according to Justine Greening of the standard in London on the politics on the ivory trade.
Throughout the revision of these different articles on the issue it shows that the illegal animal trade is increasing due to demand for the product. The different terrorist groups that are fueling poaching groups with money are the problem. According to the USA Today article an organization called the Elephant Action League states that Al-Shabab buy the ivory from a series of brokers. It is then taken overland to ports where it is typically placed in crates of charcoal. They are taken out to sea in small sailing vessels, which then transfer the crates onto larger vessels in which it gets shipped into regions of Arab, Chinese, Korean and Iranian origin.
The terrorist organizations have inflated the price of ivory because they have taken this very scarce and violent method of getting Ivory and turned it into a major commodity. A lot of people do not even understand where the ivory comes from. They have no idea that thousands of elephants and Rhinos are being ruthlessly slaughtered on site. The business is thriving because in the native countries of these animals there isn’t a lot of structural organization and government enforcement is poor. The people typically involved in the illicit industry are involved in criminal syndicates, which make the business and enforcement very hard to regulate because these organizations will not hesitate to act with violence. It gives the terrorist groups and other wildlife trade operators loopholes in the system to participate in a buyer and seller market that has a huge profit margin.