Elephants Dying in Epic Frenzy as Ivory Fuels Wars and Profits

Jeffrey Gettleman, New York Times, September 3, 2012

In 30 years of fighting poachers, Paul Onyango had never seen anything like this. Twenty-two dead elephants, including several very young ones, clumped together on the open savanna, many killed by a single bullet to the top of the head.

There were no tracks leading away, no sign that the poachers had stalked their prey from the ground. The tusks had been hacked away, but none of the meat—and subsistence poachers almost always carve themselves a little meat for the long walk home.

Several days later, in early April, the Garamba National Park guards spotted a Ugandan military helicopter flying very low over the park, on an unauthorized flight, but they said it abruptly turned around after being detected. Park officials, scientists and the Congolese authorities now believe that the Ugandan military—one of the Pentagon’s closest partners in Africa—killed the 22 elephants from a helicopter and spirited away more than a million dollars’ worth of ivory.

“They were good shots, very good shots,” said Mr. Onyango, Garamba’s chief ranger. “They even shot the babies. Why? It was like they came here to destroy everything.”

Africa is in the midst of an epic elephant slaughter. Conservation groups say poachers are wiping out tens of thousands of elephants a year, more than at any time in the previous two decades, with the underground ivory trade becoming increasingly militarized.


Some of Africa’s most notorious armed groups, including the Lord’s Resistance Army, the Shabab and Darfur’s janjaweed, are hunting down elephants and using the tusks to buy weapons and sustain their mayhem. Organized crime syndicates are linking up with them to move the ivory around the world, exploiting turbulent states, porous borders and corrupt officials from sub-Saharan Africa to China, law enforcement officials say.

But it is not just outlaws cashing in. Members of some of the African armies that the American government trains and supports with millions of taxpayer dollars—like the Ugandan military, the Congolese Army and newly independent South Sudan’s military—have been implicated in poaching elephants and dealing in ivory.


The vast majority of the illegal ivory—experts say as much as 70 percent—is flowing to China, and though the Chinese have coveted ivory for centuries, never before have so many of them been able to afford it.


High-ranking officers in the People’s Liberation Army have a fondness for ivory trinkets as gifts. Chinese online forums offer a thriving, and essentially unregulated, market for ivory chopsticks, bookmarks, rings, cups and combs, along with helpful tips on how to smuggle them (wrap the ivory in tinfoil, says one Web site, to throw off X-ray machines).

Last year, more than 150 Chinese citizens were arrested across Africa, from Kenya to Nigeria, for smuggling ivory. And there is growing evidence that poaching increases in elephant-rich areas where Chinese construction workers are building roads.


Foreigners have been decimating African elephants for generations. “White gold” was one of the primary reasons King Leopold II of Belgium turned Congo into his own personal fief in the late 19th century, leading to the brutal excesses of the upriver ivory stations thinly fictionalized in Joseph Conrad’s novel “Heart of Darkness” and planting the seeds for Congo’s free fall today.


The demand for ivory has surged to the point that the tusks of a single adult elephant can be worth more than 10 times the average annual income in many African countries. In Tanzania, impoverished villagers are poisoning pumpkins and rolling them into the road for elephants to eat. In Gabon, subsistence hunters deep in the rain forest are being enlisted to kill elephants and hand over the tusks, sometimes for as little as a sack of salt.

Last year, poaching levels in Africa were at their highest since international monitors began keeping detailed records in 2002. And 2011 broke the record for the amount of illegal ivory seized worldwide, at 38.8 tons (equaling the tusks from more than 4,000 dead elephants). {snip}

The smugglers are “Africa-based, Asian-run crime syndicates,” said Tom Milliken, director of the Elephant Trade Information System, an international ivory monitoring project, and “highly adaptive to law enforcement interventions, constantly changing trade routes and modus operandi.”


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  • You have to love the New York times.  Even in the middle of a heart wrenching story about the massacre of elephants they still find the time (bless their little hearts) to blame the White man for the black man’s failures. 

     “White gold” was one of the primary reasons King Leopold II of Belgium
    turned Congo into his own personal fief in the late 19th century,
    leading to the brutal excesses of the upriver ivory stations thinly
    fictionalized in Joseph Conrad’s novel “Heart of Darkness” and planting
    the seeds for Congo’s free fall today.”

    I forgot how advanced the region of the Congo was before the Belgians showed up.  Yes, Belgian ivory poachers of the 19th century are to blame for the black failure of the Congo today and the Spanish Conquistadors are responsible for the current state of Mexico.  Also this is yet another example of the civility and nobility of those amazing Asians.  I mean who doesn’t want ivory chop sticks that came from shooting a bull elephant and hacking off his tusks as he probably laid dying in agonizing pain.  

    • The Worlds Scapegoat

       Actually I think they might be right. You can’t have a failed civilization without first having a successful one.

    • JackKrak

      Blacks do the killing, Asians do the buying, whites do the worrying (and get the blame)


    What did you expect?   Africans are Africans, and no amount of missionaring, foreign aid, Peace Corp, “Save Africa” programs, education, praying, singling, holding hands, TV shows, free i-Pads, or anything else we do will turn them into Whites.

    We cannot make them White. 

    We cannot make them behave like Whites. 

    They are African.  They possess an entirely different set of genes.  You can’t change genes.

    Leave those people alone.  Set them free to pursue their own destiny, according to their own nature and preferences.

    •  I agree. And watch their population drop by 3/4ths. The world would be a better place.

    • JohnEngelman

      The historical role and the biological purpose of empires is to impose civilization on barbarians. The Roman Empire imposed civilization on the Celts. The Holy Roman Empire, which may be considered to be a restoration of the Western Roman Empire, imposed civilization on the Germans. 
      Civilization breeds civilized people. The criminal justice system of a civilized nation removes those with criminal inclinations from the gene pool. 
      The European empires in sub Saharan Africa ended centuries too soon. 

      •  Bullshit.  The Gauls were only under Roman rule for maybe 500 years.  That’s 30 generations if you’re lucky.  Not enough time, and there’s no indication that the Celts were uncivilized other than Roman chauvinism.

        The Germans had iron and chainmail.

        • JohnEngelman

          Your use of a vulgar word deserves to be deleted by a moderator. 

  • A meeting of Chinese money created by Western Globalists, Blacks created by diversiticrat American foreign policy makers, and African chaos initiated by Ethnomasochistic white anti-colonialists, have intersected to create a perfect storm. All the NYTimes can do is cry and blame 150 year old European adventurers. Idiots will twist their intellect into pretzels to maintain their lies. I think everyone will remember the NY Times in about 10 years the way we all remember TASS and PRAVDA.


    Conserving nature is a “White-thang”. 

  • Church_of_Jed

    Let’s see liberal White dogooders go to Africa to save the elelphants from the authentic African Diversity, and then come home and tells how enriched we are through immigration.

    To fight against Diversity’s true nature is one thing, but to ever describe that nature is forbidden…

  • I’m sure the Chinese don’t purchase diamonds, ONLY ivory. 

  • Neanderthaldna


    It’s sub-Saharan Africa.  If they have a resource that’s easily scavenged for quick profit, goodbye resource!

    Gee, wouldn’t want to preserve that stuff, set up clean, safe, touristy spots, and profit from the elephants by working and delaying gratification, eh?

    Hope white and eastasian scientists are collecting DNA of these soon to be extinct-outside-of-zoos natural wonders.  

    Because African “scientists” aren’t.

  • Michael C. Scott

    The saddest aspect of this demand for ivory is that the polymer branch of chemistry can produce plastics that are indistinguishable to the naked eye from ivory.

    • The__Bobster

      Plastics were developed as a substitute for expensive ivory billiard balls.

  • Puggg

     Golden triangle of the slave trade:

    Black slaves in the New World European colonies helped harvest raw materials.  Those raw materials were shipped to Europe to make manufactured and refined goods, such as rum.  The rum was shipped to Africa as payment to blacks who sold other blacks into slavery.  The slaves were then shipped to New World colonies.  Repeat.

    One black sold out other blacks for rum.  Which does not surprise me from what I have seen of blacks.  I am 100% convinced that a black gang leader would sell me one of his rivals for a five pound bag of weed.  Not that I’m into bags of weed or buying black people.

    • Up to my neck in CA

      They would do it for far less! More like a dime bag.

  • Puggg

     I see what you mean. If you traded a five pound bag of weed for a black gang banger, you would wind up with a shiftless criminally-oriented black who wouldn’t do a lick of work for you and would steal everything  he could from your house, and the black who did the trade would get a five pound bag of weed, and he and his friends would be stoned for weeks on end, and come out of it even more inflicted with psychosis than before.

  • The__Bobster

    I’d love to see a cage match between you and John Chinaman.

  • The__Bobster

    Errr, it’s not the tiger’s bones that they want.


    • Shlub

      Its a kind of bone…

  • CoweringCoward

     Wouldn’t that be “sparkly stones”?

  • IstvanIN

    If we sent all the Africans and Asians back to Africa and Asia and imported some of the endangered species to the US and let them loose in newly unpopulated areas the animals would gain and we would gain.

  • Bad_Mr_Frosty

    Jewelry. Now drop the -elry. 

    Who runs the diamond cartels?

  • Bad_Mr_Frosty

    Are Whites the only people that don’t practice voodoo?

  • Bad_Mr_Frosty

    The LAST thing they need to be is more “sexually potent”

  • IKantunderstand

    Yo Gettleman, you tool!  Are you seriously blaming the savageness and barbarism of the congo on King Leopold?  The sale and trade of ivory has been banned in the U.S. for I don’t know, 30, 40, years? And by the way, if it hadn’t been for British intervention in africa, who  knows what kind of slaughter would have ensued. Since the colonial powers are gone, the Dark continent has slid right back to the stone age, where the Europeans found them. Whites do not promote the sale or buying of ivory, we know what it does to the elephant population. We also know that rhino horn does NOT make you more virile or whatever the hell it’s supposed to do. Also, killing your enemy and eating his internal organs does NOT  make you braver, more handsome or whatever . However, I will say this: If you black savages want to kill and eat each other for whatever reason…please go ahead. However, for all that is sacred(oops, meaningless to savages) Please, Please, Please, allow the “so called” wild animals to live unmolested.

  • refocus

    The extermination of the elephants …

    Well at last, finally, an issue the white people can agree on.