THE WORLD’S FIRST INVESTIGATION ON IVORY AND TERRORISM
Poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking, especially ivory and rhino horn, are a source of funding for terrorist groups, including al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda-backed Somali terror group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) of Joseph Kony and the Darfur’s Janjaweed militia.
The complex international ivory trade, fuelled largely by Chinese demand, also involves elements of the military from the Congo, South Sudan and Uganda.
Between 2010 and 2012, Nir Kalron and EAL’s co-founder Andrea Crosta conducted a 18 months investigation on the Somali terrorist organization al-Shabaab and the ivory traffic. It was the very first investigation ever on ivory and terrorism.
The investigators, using a unique network of contacts developed during their years as security and intelligence consultants, wanted to collect first-hand information and assess the entity of this specific traffic, beyond anecdotes and rumors. The picture they got was tragic for the elephants and very worrying for all of us…
After several meetings with traders, traffickers, poachers and even ex-warlords, they found an indisputable financial trail between the illicit trade in ivory and al-Shabaab. The investigation detailed how al-Shabaab acts as a middleman, filling orders from agents in end-user countries in Asia or the Gulf states. It confirmed that the terrorist group pays better than average prices, making them desirable buyers of illicit ivory from small-medium brokers.
Photos from the undercover footage recorded by the investigators.