The Real Cost of Elephant Ivory
Homicide: Each year thousands of park rangers from all over the world lose their lives defending protected species from poachers. Most, gunned down by AK-47s. These underpaid and under-supported civil servants combat poachers armed with automatic weapons, rockets, and even tactical air support. Equally distasteful to the actual crime is the lackadaisical approach to enforcing law. Poachers are able to bribe law enforcement officials so effectively that they literally get away with premeditated murder.
Criminal Conglomerates: The illegal wildlife trade ranks as the fourth most profitable criminal syndicate, behind drugs, counterfeiting, and human trafficking. There is nothing that says, "You've made the big time baby," quite like the display of bone in league with the illegal kidnapping, abuse, and selling of children.
Global Unrest: In addition to supporting criminal enterprise, the popularity of wildlife black markets directly finances rebel and militia groups, and known terrorist organizations. Any country that has ever had the misfortune to have dealings with factions like Al-Qaeda, the Lord’s Resistance Army, the Janjaweed Militia, Congolese rebels, and many more have the illegal sale of ivory to thank. Author and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) supporter says, "the illegal trade has gotten so out of control that corruption is easily observed throughout the military, border guards, law enforcement officers, judiciary officials, customs officers, embassy personnel, and state diplomats. The corruption spreads like a disease so long as people continue to profit from the illegal wildlife trade."
An ornate piece of ivory around the neck or on the desk shows a weakness of character to the world, far more than it does the strength of an individual's bank statement. For those interested in teaching humanitarianism to future generations, become a part of IFAWs Join the Herd classroom movement, and take action for elephants.
You Should Also Read:
United States Stronger Stance on Poached Ivory
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