By Will Travers
Human rights violations and armed insurgencies in Africa generally, and the Central African Republic specifically, are deeply concerning. Born Free's committed and compassionate wildlife champions are on the ground throughout central Africa trying to protect elephants, rhinos, and other species in the face of tremendous human suffering and violent conflict.
Last month, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued an important report in which he described poaching, mostly of elephants, as one of the "cross-border criminal activities in the sub-region" that represents a "growing security concern."
Between November and December 2012, more than 300 elephants in Bouba Ndjida National Park were killed by poachers, and in just one week in March 2013, poachers murdered 86 elephants in Chad.
The elephants' deaths translate into massive profits via the increasingly lucrative ivory trade, and militant groups, such as the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) are likely reaping the financial benefits. Since the nature and aggressiveness of poaching has changed dramatically, some African countries have chosen to utilize not only law enforcement agencies, but also the national army, in combating this brutal practice.
But their capacity is already stretched to the limit.
We watch in horror at the brutal events unfolding in Africa and discover an undeniable truth: the human-related and animal-related aspects of the crisis are directly connected. As Lemieux and Clarke (2009) reported, the facilitation of poaching operations by the corruption in Central African countries' governments and as well as the region's engagement in civil war, have a detrimental effect on the elephant population. Recent reports illustrate that these findings hold true today. More....