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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/im-more-concerned-about-killing-on-a-large-scale-30529872.aspx

Subject:  Re: OTish: what sort of scum shoots an elephant. Date:  2/7/2013  11:40 AM
Author:  alstroemeria Number:  1858356 of 1963184

I'm more concerned about killing on a large scale than individual rich hunters (I also don't relate to the desire to kill for sport):

Like blood diamonds from Sierra Leone or plundered minerals from Congo, ivory, it seems, is the latest conflict resource in Africa, dragged out of remote battle zones, easily converted into cash and now fueling conflicts across the continent.

...

But it is not just outlaws cashing in. Members of some of the African armies that the American government trains and supports with millions of taxpayer dollars — like the Ugandan military, the Congolese Army and newly independent South Sudan’s military — have been implicated in poaching elephants and dealing in ivory.

...

The vast majority of the illegal ivory — experts say as much as 70 percent — is flowing to China, and though the Chinese have coveted ivory for centuries, never before have so many of them been able to afford it. China’s economic boom has created a vast middle class, pushing the price of ivory to a stratospheric $1,000 per pound on the streets of Beijing.

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Foreigners have been decimating African elephants for generations. “White gold” was one of the primary reasons King Leopold II of Belgium turned Congo into his own personal fief in the late 19th century, leading to the brutal excesses of the upriver ivory stations thinly fictionalized in Joseph Conrad’s novel “Heart of Darkness” and planting the seeds for Congo’s free fall today.

Ivory Coast got its name from the teeming elephant herds that used to frolic in its forests. Today, after decades of carnage, there is almost no ivory left.

...

...the sharp increase in large seizures is a clear sign that organized crime has slipped into the ivory underworld, because only a well-oiled criminal machine — with the help of corrupt officials — could move hundreds of pounds of tusks thousands of miles across the globe, often using specially made shipping containers with secret compartments.

The smugglers are “Africa-based, Asian-run crime syndicates,” said Tom Milliken, director of the Elephant Trade Information System, an international ivory monitoring project, and “highly adaptive to law enforcement interventions, constantly changing trade routes and modus operandi.”

...

Some experts say the survival of the species is at stake, especially when many members of the African security services entrusted with protecting the animals are currently killing them.

“The huge populations in West Africa have disappeared, and those in the center and east are going rapidly,” said Andrew Dobson, an ecologist at Princeton. “The question is: Do you want your children to grow up in a world without elephants?”


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/04/world/africa/africas-eleph...
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