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Nature

The Ugly Truth About Who's Getting Rich Off Ivory

This "white gold' is becoming a major security issue. And an extinction one...

People often associate ivory knickknacks with parts of Asia where enforcement of the wildlife trade is more 'relaxed', and it's easy to forget that they come from elephants...from AFRICA.

So who's actually profiting from the recent surge in elephant killings back on the dark continent?Rogue poachers? Chinese businessmen?

It may surprise you to hear that the Islamic extremist group Al-Shabaab nets roughly $600,000 per month selling ivory -- enough to fund roughly 40% of their operations. Other terrorist groups like Joseph Kony's LRA in Uganda and Boko Haram in Nigeria have been implicated in the ivory trade as well.

Annapurna Films and Kathryn Bigelow (the team behind Zero Dark Thirty) just released this amazingly powerful short film tracing the path ivory takes from tusk to table (so to speak) and all the evil players involved along the way.

The film's website explains the motivation behind the campaign and provides links for viewers to fund partner organizations and influence policy to put an end to ivory-funded terrorism. 

Our featured action for this story is a new mobile app called Wildlife Witness that makes it easy to flag and report illegal wildlife products if you see them for sale. 


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