Monday, September 10, 2012

Government soldiers and rebel insurgents are slaughtering hundreds of elephants

Protecting endangered wildlife is not just about donating to WWF, funding parks, keeping endangered lizards as "pets" and abstaining from buying ivory. It's an arms race and it's fighting a war. In 2012 the poachers have gone on blitz krieg killing more elephants than ever before, operating across borders from helicopters and shooting at park rangers who are forced to retreat. And it's not just lawless insurgents who fund their rebellion in ivory trade, troops trained and equipped by the US to combat those very same insurgents have joined the slaughter.

Take a moment to watch this otherwise beautifully produced video from a brutal slaughter of over 300 elephants in Cameroon.

The New York Times / Elephants Dying in Epic Frenzy as Ivory Fuels Wars and Profits includes a seven minutes video and tells of the same tragic story but this one from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"They opened up on us with PKMs, AKs, G-3s, and FNs [...] Most poachers are conservative with their ammo, but these guys were shooting like they were in Iraq. All of a sudden, we were outgunned and outnumbered."
 - Paul Onyango, park ranger.
“An element of our army is involved [...] It’s easy money.”
 - Major Jean-Pierrot Mulaku, Congolese military prosecutor.
"The huge populations in West Africa have disappeared, and those in the center and east are going rapidly [...] The question is: Do you want your children to grow up in a world without elephants?"
 - Andrew Dobson, Princeton ecologist.

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