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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Kucinich Backs Investigation of Slaughter of Endangered Elephants in Africa
WASHINGTON - September 10 - Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) wrote to the Ambassador of the Republic of Uganda requesting cooperation with an investigation into the slaughter of twenty-two elephants in the Garamba National Park. It is unclear who committed the slaughter, which occurred in order to poach the elephants’ ivory tusks, but local park officials believe that a military helicopter may have been used.
An elephant’s ivory can be sold for as much as $1000 dollars per pound, and is often used to fund illicit groups like Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army. The use of the helicopter raised questions about whether the Ugandan military might be behind this slaughter.
See a signed copy of the letter here.
“On March 15, 2012, an illegal helicopter of unknown origin was carrying a marksman who shot twenty-two elephants for the purpose of obtaining and profiting from their ivory tusks. Despite the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife Fauna and Flora’s (CITES) 1989 ban on ivory trade, this practice continues to devastate Africa’s elephant population. Since the 1970s, the elephant population has fallen by more than 750,000, and because of the recent surge in poaching, is estimated to be as low as 472,269 by the International Union of Conservation of Nature,” wrote Kucinich.
“It is imperative that we do all that we can to protect the lives and future populations of the elephant… According to a September 4, 2012 article in The New York Times, ‘Elephants Dying in Epic Frenzy as Ivory Fuels Wars and Profits,’ the Garamba National Park’s authorities and the Congolese government believe that members of the Ugandan military are responsible for the March 15th poaching. The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) is conducting an investigation into this mass elephant killing. I ask that you fully cooperate with this investigation and work to protect the endangered elephant population.
“I look forward to hearing from you regarding any information you may have regarding this incident.”