Ivory has become so profitable that it's worth more than heroin, earning it the frightening nickname of "white gold." In fact, illegal ivory profits funds more than 40 percent of the salaries of al-Shabaab militants, according to reports.
And, unfortunately, another group explicitly identified as receiving funding from the ivory trade is Boko Haram -- the same extremist terrorist organization considered responsible for the kidnapping and torture of the Nigerian schoolgirls.
Protecting Elephants Protects Humans
What does following the money, and connecting the ivory crisis to terrorism, tell us? Although the facts themselves are grim, there's a basic and undeniable truth here, too: we are all connected.
Sometimes animal rights, wildlife, and environmental activists are unfairly accused of ignoring the very real problems that humans face by focusing on wildlife, such as elephants, instead.
But the truth is that protecting elephants protects humans, too. If ending the ivory trade means that even just one vicious killer or kidnapper doesn't get a paycheck -- and trust us, it would be many more than just one -- then it's worth it.