To the Editor:
“To Save Wildlife, and Tourism, Kenyans Take Up Arms” and “Coveting Horns, Ruthless Smugglers’ Rings Put Rhinos in the Cross Hairs” (“The Price of Ivory” series, news articles, Dec. 30 and Jan. 1) give readers a front-line view of how poaching is devastating elephant and rhino populations in Africa. Today, eight of 10 elephants die because of poaching, creating a lucrative, bloody money stream for criminal networks.
The revenues generated by the killing of wild animals and the sale of their parts support local insurgencies and terrorist activities, and promote political instability. That is one reason Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton rightly called this fall for “an assessment of the impact of large-scale wildlife trafficking on our security interests.”
With the support of agencies like the Agency for International Development and the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Wildlife Conservation Society and its N.G.O. partners are helping to develop law enforcement intelligence networks that address wildlife crime at its source. These efforts have resulted in some of the few places across Central and East Africa where elephant numbers have been maintained.
President and Chief Executive
Wildlife Conservation Society
Bronx, Jan. 3, 2013