Wednesday, 4 November 2009
The Janjawid and rhinos
Long interested in poaching of rhinos because of their rarity and the knowledge of how their horns are used to make ceremonial daggers in Yemen and medicines in now-affluent nations of East Asia, it is terrifying to know that in the present economic downturn rhino poaching is increasing after efforts to stabilise rhino populations in the eighties and nineties.
What is surprising is that, in Sudan and Chad, poaching of the now extinct Northern White Rhino constituted a major source of funding for Muslim terrorist groups known as the Janjawid. The Janjawid are camel-herding tribes of the eastern Sahel who have been the major force kiling non-Muslims in southern Sudan and adjacent Chad over the past decade. The price of rhino horn is so high that the Janjawid, even with no more rhinos to kill, still have a good deal of money from their operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the last Northern White Rhinos were found. More than that, the Janjawid also have elephants to poach for ivory if they run out of rhino horn.
What is more revealing still is that Janjawid insiders admit that the Sudanese government sponsors poaching. Doing such a thing is terrifying even for a country that is not a signatory to CITES (neither is Yemen) but is shows extremely bad behaviour on the part of the Asian dealers who buy rhino horn and who are signatories to CITES.