WASHINGTON In 2007, poachers slaughtered 13 rhinos for their horns. Last year, more than 1,000 rhinos were killed.
The numbers are shocking. But perhaps more shocking is that the poaching increasingly is driven by criminal syndicates and terrorist organizations that sell rhino horns and elephant tusks to fund their activities.
Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, plans to shine a light today on the link between the poached goods and the criminal ventures they support. The committee will examine the Obama administration's new initiative that takes aim at the traders.
"The dramatic increase in poaching is connected to the dramatic increase of terrorism funding," Johan Bergenas, of the Stimson Center, a D.C.-based think tank devoted to security issues.