2016 Photo Contest, Nature, 2nd prize

Ivory Wars


Brent Stirton

National Geographic

22 January, 2015

Benadete Kahindo (32) stands with her eldest daughter, Gift. Benadete’s husband, a ranger, was killed by the FDLR, a notorious Hutu-led rebel group that has operated inside the Virunga National Park since the Rwandan genocide. A year later, Gift, then aged 14, was raped by M23 rebels, a group that claims to oppose the FDLR. The family survives on funds and donations.

The trade in poached ivory is financing rebel armed militia across Africa, such as the Lord’s Resistance Army, Seleka rebels of the Central African Republic (CAR), the Janjaweed of Sudan, and the FDLR in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Various national armies actively trade with these groups, and centuries-old Sudanese poaching cartels participate in sending large bands of armed men across borders to kill elephants. Patrols of dedicated rangers around the continent are on the frontline of attempts to thwart the trade.

About the photographer

Brent Stirton

Brent Stirton is a special correspondent for Getty Images, and a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine as well as other international titles.  He speci...

Technical information

Shutter Speed
Focal length
38.0 mm

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