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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid