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British troops are being deployed to protect elephants from poachers as part of the fight against extremism.
Terrorist groups in Africa are butchering rare forest elephants to fund their activities with the army being dispatched to Gabon to fight the threat, the Mirror reports.
The ivory from rare forest elephants can be work £65 per 1lb on the Asian black markets, with the illegal exports being pushed through a wide connection of ports in Dar es Salaam and Mombasa.
Christian Mbina, Gabon Park's technical director, told the Mirror: "We're convinced on all evidence we have that the money raised by poaching goes to fund terrorism.
Credit: PA Images
"The network and movements of Boko Haram are known all over Africa now. The same way Al-Shabaab are involved in ivory poaching in the east of Africa, Kenya and Tanzania, Boko Haram do the same here. The big terror groups in Africa now live from piracy and poaching."
Authorities have requested assistance from the British Army to defend their last remaining elephants, with even young calves being slaughtered.
Sixteen infantrymen, predominantly from 2nd Battalion The Rifles, are currently stationed in the Mokekou Jungle Training Camp near Lope.
The Army has been to Kenya, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Ethiopia in the past five years in order to train 145 officers in fighting back against poaching.
The poachers will stop at nothing to snare elephants, often using children of pygmies - a threatened indigenous people on the edge of the Gabon forests - as mules to avoid detection by authorities.
There remains a black market for ivory. (Credit: PA Images)
Earlier this year, three pygmy children were arrested carrying 40kg of ivory on their backs.
As well as training rangers, the mission requires soldiers to navigate tough environments such as jungles, the threat of snakes and malaria, as well as having to avoid charging elephants and gorilla attacks.
Colour Sergeant Sean Kirkham, a 32-year-old veteran of tours in Afghanistan and Iraq describes the difficult conditions the soldiers face on the mission.
He told the Mirror: "Because it's so humid, it's hard for the body to cool down and regulate its temperature. Cuts take longer to heal. There's no other place like it, that's why it's critical we're out here developing younger soldiers.
"It's a good news story to be seen to be helping anti-poaching but, for the individuals out here, they're developing themselves personally."
Great to see the fight against terrorism and protecting animals going hand-in-hand.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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