United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on May 24 heard testimony about the immense scale of the illegal trade in wildlife products, amounting to up to $10 Billion annually.
At the U.S. Senate Hearing, testimony regarding the clear connection between global insecurity and a surging ivory and rhino horn trade was heard by Senator John Kerry. Witnesses included Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton (Founder, Save the Elephants), Mr. John Scanlon (Secretary-General of CITES), and Tom Cardamone (Managing Director, Global Financial Integrity).
Dr. Douglas-Hamilton testified that elephants are currently being killed at nearly the same rate as the 1980s, prior to the ivory ban.
He noted that since 2007, illegal ivory seizures in Kenya have risen 800 percent and that Chinese nationals are involved in 90 percent of ivory seizures at the country’s airports.
The profits from this illicit trade help to fund insurgent groups, terrorists, and organized crime.
We’ve gone from 13 rhino illegally killed in South Africa in 2007 to 448 illegally killed in 2011, and the numbers are up to 220 already this year, putting us on track for illegal killings up to 600.