PHOENIX — Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake traveled to South Africa to advocate against the multi-billion dollar industry of wildlife poaching and trafficking throughout the continent.
Flake said he felt the trip was important because the United States Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, which he is chairman of, provides oversight for the “millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars” used to combat wildlife poaching in South Africa.
The End Wildlife Trafficking Act, which Flake has pushed forward, works with South African countries affected by wildlife poaching and trafficking to devise a plan to address these threats.
Flake said if the current poaching trend continues, African wildlife will be completely wiped out from the area within a decade or two.
African wildlife has grown more and more scarce, causing resources to increase in value. A set of two 25-pound horns from a rhino can sell for $600,000 on the black market.
“Rhino horn and elephant ivory are sometimes used as currency for terrorism or to fight civil conflict in these countries,” Flake said, citing the growth of east African terrorist organization Al Shabaab due to poaching proceeds in Kenya.
The African programs that the state partners with are making a difference in the continent, Flake said, which aims to ensure the “iconic wildlife” will be around for future generations.
For all his trouble trying to save elephants, Flake and his party were chased by an elephant as they drove away from an outing.
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