In South Sudan’s two-year old civil war, oil was a key factor in fueling the war economy. But reports are emerging that elephants may have contributed to this war economy. As reported last week by Bloomberg News, South Sudan's wildlife service says at least 500 elephants were killed during the fighting over the past two years.

This comes in the wake of a warning by Major-General Philip Chol Majak, the country’s director of wildlife services, that South Sudan has suffered severe losses to wildlife.

Although he said civilians are guilty of illegal poaching, he also fingered both government and rebel forces as being behind the crimes. Before the conflict, there were 5,000 elephants in South Sudan. There are now 2,500 elephants in the country. The New York based Wildlife Conservation Society has described the situation as “very alarming.”

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