By Ted Jeory
The boss of Prince William’s favourite conservation charity tonight urged world leaders to back an $80million initiative by Hilary Clinton to stop the slaughter of African elephants for their ivory tusks.
Meredith Ogilvie-Thompson, the executive director of Tusk, said an appeal launched by the former US Secretary of State and her daughter Chelsea in September was crucial–not only for preventing the criminal destruction of one of the world’s most intelligent mammals, but also for awakening people to the mass exploitation of Africa’s natural resources.
At a conference in New York six weeks ago, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) brought together conservationists, international financiers and African heads of government to find a way forward.
They highlighted the organised nature of the crime that experts estimate is worth an astonishing £6billion a year, ranking it among the world’s most lucrative criminal activities.
It is thought al Shabaab terrorists in Somalia and Kenya are profiting from the illegal poaching, with some 35,000 African elephants alone killed last year.
Booming consumer demand for ivory, particularly from Asia, is causing its price to spiral on the open and black markets.
Poachers threaten park rangers with death before hunting down the elephants, letting them die in agony and then ripping off their tusks. More....