Irish conservationist killed in Burkina Faso during anti-poaching patrol

Spanish Air Force carry coffins of the three people killed during an anti-poaching patrol in Burkina Faso, Spain, April 30, 2021, credit: Reuters/Sergio Perez
Spanish Air Force carry coffins of the three people killed during an anti-poaching patrol in Burkina Faso, Spain, April 30, 2021, credit: Reuters/Sergio Perez

The Irish conservationist Rory Young, two Spanish journalists and a member of the Burkina Faso Armed Forces were killed in an ambush during an anti-poaching patrol in Arly National Park in Burkina Faso. On Friday, the bodies of Young and the journalists arrived in Spain.

Young was the co-founder of the anti-poaching organization Chengeta Wildlife, a charity that trains anti-poaching rangers in Africa. Born in Zambia, he dedicated his life to wildlife protection, the charity said.

The two Spanish journalists, David Beriain and Roberto Fraile, were traveling with Young to document his efforts to protect wildlife.

On Monday, the four went missing after an attack on the convoy of around forty people. The government later confirmed they had been killed. The area in which they were driving is dangerous with poachers, criminals and terrorists.

Still, Young and the rangers he was training risked their lives to protect wild animals in the area. Burkina Faso faces a security crisis as extremist groups are stepping up attacks on the army and civilians.

On Wednesday, a report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) examined the connection between the environment and armed conflict.

IUCN said 219 endangered species were facing threats from “war, civil unrest and military exercises” which meant direct killing of wildlife, degradation of ecosystems and the disruption of conservation efforts.

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