The Ivory Trade and Terrorism- is there a link?
There’s been long drawn-out contention about whether the ivory trade funds terror.
Some compelling evidence has suggested that the hypothesis has been proven true.
Through innovative techniques, fake tusks hidden with GPS tracking- which has been around for some years- were released into the black market and eventually found north of the base of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, led by Joseph Kony, the man with a $5m bounty on his head for war crimes against humanity. The tusks then travelled to Sudan, which was then exchanged for money and weapons.
Further, through interviews with people along the trade route, it was revealed that the LRA were killing both people and elephants.
In 2014, 132 elephants in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo were killed by the LRA to fund terrorist operations. There are only 1,000 left there. 40 years ago, there were 22,000. This is also the same park where the northern white rhino became extinct.
Whether the extent of the militarised poaching continues at the same rate today remains unclear- but what we do know, is that if the price of ivory falls- which it is, due to the various interventions taking place including ivory trade bans, notably in China- then the terrorists will focus less on ivory as a form of valuable currency. Of course, they’ll resort to something other kind of financing as other terrorist groups do. Though so long as black market ivory continues to flow within the continent, elephants will continue to systematically die, and terrorism in Africa will continue to be funded with the numerous senseless deaths of our planet’s national treasures.