By 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. More....