BRUSSELS – The European Union has unveiled measures for tackling a surge in wildlife trafficking, which is helping to fund extremist and militia groups.
The EU estimates that the illicit trade nets up to 20 billion euros ($22 billion) each year, and threatens the survival in the wild of elephants, rhinoceroses, lions and gorillas.
The EU's executive Commission said Friday that the five-year plan aims to prevent trafficking, reduce supply and demand for illegal products, toughen existing laws, combat organized crime and boost cooperation among countries in the chain.
Somalia's al-Shabab, Uganda's rebel Lord's Resistance Army and Sudanese armed groups have been implicated in the illicit ivory trade.
The EU says around 1,000 rangers are believed to have been killed in anti-poaching operations around the world over the past decade.