By Philip Rucker
Hillary Rodham Clinton announced a new global effort Thursday to protect Africa’s wild elephants from poaching, part of a long-running personal crusade for the former secretary of state.
Clinton joined the presidents of several African nations and wildlife preservation advocates to unveil an $80 million, three-year program aimed at ending ivory trafficking, including new park guards at major elephant ranges and sniffer-dog teams at global transit points.
The announcement was a centerpiece of the final day of the Clinton Global Initiative, the Clinton family’s annual charitable gathering in New York. In remarks at a Thursday luncheon, Clinton said the slaughter of elephants for their ivory tusks had reached crisis proportions.
“Unless the killing stops, African forest elephants are expected to be extinct within 10 years,” Clinton said. “I can’t even grasp what a great disaster this is ecologically, but also for anyone who shares this planet to lose a magnificent creature like the African forest elephant seems like such a rebuke to our own values.”
Clinton drew a direct link between terrorism and elephant poaching, citing growing evidence that terrorist groups in Africa are funding their activities in part by trafficking ivory. She said that includes al-Shabab, the group responsible for the recent attack at a shopping mall in Nairobi.
“This is not just about elephants,” Clinton said. “It is about human beings, governments, trying to control their own territory, trying to keep their people safe, as well as protect their cultural and environmental heritage.”
The new program will enable an expanded law enforcement presence at 50 major elephant sites that together harbor 285,000 elephants, or roughly two-thirds of the African population. More....