— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) February 25, 2016
While on a fact-finding mission to better understand wildlife conservation, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona captured video of a charging elephant herd that chased his convoy in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique.
The angry elephants, ears flaring and trunks trumpeting, apparently were unaware of the fight Flake is waging on wildlife trafficking and poaching.
“These elephants have no respect for a fellow Republican. No respect I tell ya,” Flake wrote in a tweet, referencing elephants as the GOP symbol.Flake certainly has respect for the elephants, however.
Hundreds of thousands of animals like elephants and rhinos are killed by poachers every year as part of a multi-billion-dollar industry for people who believe their tusks and horn have medicinal powers, Flake and fellow Sen. Chris Coons wrote in an op-ed for CNN.
Flake said the U.S. should keep supporting countries that deal with ivory poaching from elephants and rhinos because the money could go to criminal organizations to fund conflicts in the region.
“I wish it were something we were able to do more about, and we should be able to,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in response to Flake’s comments at a Senate Foreign Relations hearing on Tuesday.
In December, a week before writing the op-ed, Flake introduced a bipartisan bill meant to combat wildlife trafficking.
“We cannot afford to stand by,” Flake wrote, according to Mashable. “We can and must work together and use every tool at our disposal to curb wildlife poaching and trafficking.”
Half of Mozambique’s elephant population was killed for ivory in five years, decreasing the population from more than 20,000 to barely 10,000 in 2015, according to the U.S.-based Wildlife Conservation Society.
As Mashable wrote, the elephants have every right to be angry.
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) were also part of the Congressional Delegation visiting Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia, though it was unknown whether they were part of the convoy being chased by the angry elephant herd.
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