Blood Animals

Endangered animals have joined the ranks of diamonds, timber and precious metals—exploited commodities funding conflict. This article in Newsweek revealed the Janjaweed militias have resorted to poaching to finance the genocide in Darfur and Chad:

In the past two years, they have butchered hundreds of elephants around Zakouma, say Chadian authorities, carrying the tusks back to Sudan, where they are secreted on ships bound mostly for Asia—or traded for weapons.

Extinction has a price:

The State Department estimates that the market value of illegal ivory (the most commonly trafficked contraband, at $400 a pound), tiger parts ($7,000 for a set of bones), rhino horn (up to $25,000 per pound of bone), shark fins, exotic birds (up to $90,000 for a Lear’s macaw), reptile skin, bushmeat and other illegal wildlife products has reached $10 billion a year and possibly twice that. China is the largest market, with the United States a close second.

The guardians of these animals are also vulnerable to attacks— ” some 100 rangers, outgunned and outmanned, are killed every year defending Africa’s wildlife.”

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, despite a signed peace deal and the committment of three countries to protect their remaining mountain gorillas, a group of rebels have managed to set up camp in the Virunga National Park threatening to execute any rangers returning to the region. One ranger reported that the rebels are taking tourist groups to see the gorillas a couple of times a week and generating revenue. It’s a case of eco-tourism turning into eco-terrorism or conflict tourism.

While endangered animals face extinction in these conflict zones, elephant conservation was deemed too successful in South Africa that they started to permit culling again.

Meanwhile, it appears these U.S. soldiers find amusement in throwing a puppy off a cliff.

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~ by sangamithra on March 8, 2008.

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