Illegal Poaching Funds Militant Groups

US lawmakers to probe $10B wildlife trade in hearings this week
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 2, 2008 6:35 PM CST
The horn of the Budapest Zoo's southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) calf, named Layla, is seen at her first birthday in Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2008. White rhinos have been devastated...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Shipments of African contraband such as ivory, tiger parts, and rhino horn are funding militant groups and perhaps terrorists, Newsweek reports. After the theft of $1.3 million in ivory in Chad last year and a reported rise in contraband smuggling, US lawmakers have become interested: A House hearing on the wildlife trade is scheduled to start next week.

Poaching is now a $10 billion market, with large-scale animal killings that fund militias such as Janjaweed, which carries out strikes in Darfur. For them, “it’s untraceable money,” said an animal welfare expert. Evidence of a terror link is anecdotal, “but with the amount of money it would provide, even anecdotes are a huge cause for concern," a US official said.