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Interview: Shining a Light
On Africa’s Elephant Slaughter

With the mass killing of African elephants sharply escalating recently as global prices for ivory have risen, few articles have conveyed the scope and brutality of that trade as vividly as the one written earlier this month by Jeffrey Gettleman, East Africa bureau chief for The New York Times. In an interview with
Jeffrey Gettleman
Jeffrey Gettleman
Yale Environment 360, Gettleman describes how weeks in the field helped him piece together a picture of an elaborate ivory trade that is fueled largely by Chinese demand and involves elements of the military from the Congo, South Sudan, and Uganda — all of which receive some funding or training from the U.S. government. As Gettleman, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting, explains, the decimation of elephant herds is emblematic of a larger problem that plagues Africa’s people and its once-rich natural heritage: state failure. “That’s why so many elephants are getting killed in central Africa because it’s probably the most unstable part of Africa and has huge areas that are just completely lawless,” says Gettleman.
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