News / Africa

Addressing Poaching as Terrorism

With the increases in price, demand of ivory in South-East Asian countries, Kenya Wildlife Service says poaching activities have increased to the highest ever recorded loss in a single year of 384 elephants and 19 rhinos in 2012, January 16, 2013.
With the increases in price, demand of ivory in South-East Asian countries, Kenya Wildlife Service says poaching activities have increased to the highest ever recorded loss in a single year of 384 elephants and 19 rhinos in 2012, January 16, 2013.

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
There’s an expanding front on the war against terrorism. The U-S recently launched a 10-million dollar initiative to help combat animal poaching in Africa. Money from the illegal trade in animal products may be supporting various militant groups on the continent. But one expert says the U-S initiative alone won’t be enough to solve the problem.


Johan Bergenas said current anti-poaching efforts have not been successful in stopping the slaughter of thousands of animals every year.

“Poaching as a transnational criminal activity is of course not new. We have seen an increased level of killing of defenseless animals over the last 12 to 18 months.”

Bergenas is deputy director of the Managing Across Boundaries Initiative at the Stimson Center – a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank in Washington.

“The more interesting and dangerous pattern though is that transnational criminal groups, who are trafficking other illicit goods, be it drugs or arms or you name it and also terrorist organizations, are now increasingly profiting off of poaching and adjacent activities,” he said.

Somali militants are among those benefitting from poaching.

“The Kenya Wildlife Service has reported for a number of years now a strong link to al-Shabab, which is of course a Somalia-based al-Qaeda affiliate. And also we are seeing increased eyewitness reports from people who have left these networks and come out and testify that, for example, the Lord’s Resistance Army, and its head Joseph Kony, is specifically targeting poaching and the revenues that can be taken from that activity and buying supplies  and arms and other equipment,” he said

Game park rangers and others involved in anti-poaching efforts are often outmanned and outgunned.

Bergenas said, “These poachers are no longer using non-sophisticated weapons. They are really going after the use of helicopters, machine guns, vision goggles that they can see at night. And we have to respond with the technology that –‘the good guys’ have in managing these issues.”

The Stimson Center official said that the recent action taken by the Obama administration is a big step in the right direction.

“President Obama has put together a task force that is going to look at [an] interagency process to fight illicit trafficking and wildlife more broadly. And so at the end of that process, there will be a report and a U.S. national strategy to that end. He also committed an additional $10 million, which of course will not be enough to manage this threat.”

He said the U.S. and its European allies need to take a fundamentally different approach when they partner with African nations.

“We need to increasingly find development issues, security issues – be it arms or drugs or poaching or whatever it might be – and try to alter our programs to better partner with these countries. And so at the end of the day, we will get our high priority satisfied – be it counter-terrorism or proliferation – and they will get their high priorities – be it poaching or curbing transnational crime or what ever it might be.”

African nations, he added, need to have better arms and equipment to match those of the poachers. Bergenas says drones could also be a part of anti-poaching efforts, but not the kind that carry weapons, only cameras for surveillance.

“When the poachers are sent into these game parks to kill the rhino or the elephants -- and to take their tusks and their horns – how did they get there? How are they able to get around police, wildlife services and other counter poaching efforts? How are they trafficking these high value items throughout their countries – across borders – and into the international illicit market? And that is an interesting use of this new technology,” he said.

He said lessons learned from a holistic approach to poaching may lead to better ways to control drug trafficking, cigarette and arms smuggling. Another big step toward curbing poaching in Africa, Bergenas said, would be to curb the demand for illegal animal products in Asia.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid