Terrorist groups, such as the Lord's Resistance Army and Boko Haram, are fueling a discouraging increase in African elephant poaching in Central Africa.
Unfortunately, rhino aren't the only large animal suffering from an increase in poaching in Africa these days. Terrorist groups in Central Africa have recently discovered elephant ivory as a form of income and have turned to elephant poaching to finance their operations.
Heavily-armed groups, such as the Lord's Resistance Army, Boko Haram, and Al Shabaab, have become increasingly sophisticated in their elephant poaching operations, which has terrible consequences for wildlife in the area.
Initial reports out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo indicate that over 100 elephants have been poached since April 2014. Some of the better-equipped terrorist groups are even using helicopters and chainsaws to kill elephants and harvest their ivory tusks.
The tusks are then sold on the black market in Asia, especially in China, for incredible sums of money.
The Lord's Resistance Army, led by Joseph Kony, is one of the biggest African elephant poaching offenders in Africa. The money generated though their elephant poaching operations has left the terrorist group flush with cash.
According to Sasha Lezhnev, Associate Director of Policy at the Enough Project:
Ivory has injected new blood into the LRA, which was nearly on its last legs in 2014, more and more folks have gotten into it.
Conservation groups estimate that nearly 100 elephants are killed in Africa every day. Due in large part to an increase in elephant poaching, the population of African elephants has declined by over 50 percent during the last 30 years.
A contributing factor to this dramatic increase in African elephant poaching is that the price of ivory has reached a high of nearly $1,300 per pound on the black market. With that sort of money available, it is no surprise that terrorist groups are turning to elephant poaching as a source of income.
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