The influence of illicit wildlife trafficking in security matters. The case of illicit trafficking of elephant ivory and rhino horn in Africa.
Threatened wildlife is being poached at an alarming rate to feed the global illicit wildlife trafficking (IWT). Poachers and armed non-state actors – including rebel forces such as the Lord's Resistance Army – are targeting elephants and rhinos across Africa in order to meet growing global demand. This thesis places a particular emphasis on the worldwide security implications of the IWT in a time span from 2010 to 2017. The majority of study regarding the IWT’s influence tends to focus on biodiversity and endangered species conservation issues. The thesis examines the security implications of poaching in IWT, focusing on the African elephant tusk and rhino horn illicit trafficking. 65 sources, including book chapters, journal articles, news items, data from multinational environmental agencies, and transcripts of high-level debates from which 37 documents and short films were studied using actor-based discourse analysis. The analysis considered the presence of organized crime groups and armed non-state actors that take part in IWT and influences security concerns. One of the thesis’ key findings is that Think Tanks have contributed to the securitization discourse about IWT, stressing how the lucrative ivory trafficking fuels conflict in Africa and feeds international terrorist groups and crime syndicates. While poaching of elephants and rhinos may have increased recently because to increased demand for illicit wildlife products, instability and armed non-state actors in source countries have made large-scale poaching possible. Through a discourse analysis of 37 documents, the thesis shows how in recent times, the work of Think Tanks has contributed to shifting focus towards how poaching in IWT and suspected links to other unlawful (possibly terrorist) activities threaten long-term peace. Keywords: Africa, poaching, illicit wildlife trafficking, elephant ivory, rhino horn, security, securitization, terrorism
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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