Elephants In The Dust

torial Guinea and Gabon onto merchant ships, dry bulk ships or fishing vessels. There is no doubt that militias are involved in elephant poaching, however they are not solely responsible. There have also been claims of military involvement and even of the use of helicopters in poaching. Police, customs and wildlife authorities in some countries have also been implicated in the poaching of elephants and illegal ivory trade. Tracking operations in Tanzania and the investigations of poach- ers’ camps, along with direct confrontations, arrests and sei- zures, have revealed the involvement of not only Tanzanian citi- zens, but also Somalis and Rwandans in the killing of elephants. The involvement of organized crime, influx of arms and the likeli- hood of encountering combat-hardened members of the military or militias pose a great risk to park rangers. Indeed, the training of rangers in bush warfare, good police tactical skills, particular in tracking and intelligence gathering is absolutely vital to the suc- cess of anti-poaching operations and law enforcement.

items such as ivory and rhino horn, where it is cheap, readily available, and where law enforcement is weak. Unlike timber and minerals however, the value of ivory is not enough alone to fund a war. However, buyers can actively pursue the trade in conflict areas. Indeed, the Janjaweed militia operating in Darfur, Sudan and in eastern Chad are thought to have trav- elled from Darfur through Chad to kill between 300 and 600 elephants in Cameroon in 2012 (CITES press release 2012b; Scanlon 2012). The Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda have allegedly killed elephants for ivory in both Uganda, CAR, and in the DRC (CITES press release 2012b), and Congolese, Bu- rundian and Rwandan poachers armed with AK-47s and some- times large amounts of ammunition have been responsible for elephant killings in Tanzania. In the north, militias but sometimes also the regular armies, kill elephants. The ivory is then smuggled through Darfur to Khar- toum, Sudan, or from Kampala, Uganda to Mombasa, Kenya, or from CAR and Cameroon to the coast through Nigeria, Equa-


Made with