Operation CORDED

British officers in India had a long history of sport and big-game hunting, as was common amongst military officers at the time. In more recent decades Gurkha officers and soldiers have changed their focus to assisting in the preservation of endangered species which are vulnerable to poaching and illegal hunting. Animals such as Elephants and Rhinoceros are particularly at risk given the value of their tusks and horns. Gurkha soldiers have played a key role in stopping poaching of such animals in Africa, particularly in Kenya during Operation Corded, ensuring the continuing survival of these majestic animals.

Beginning in 2018, Operation CORDED has served as the code-name for British military anti-poaching operations in Malawi and Zambia. The operation aims to help suppress the illegal wildlife trade in the region by training local park rangers. Training includes tracking, bushcraft and poacher-interception and aims to ensure local forces can affect lasting change in their own roles. In particular the operation has helped protect both rhino and elephant populations from poachers seeking to obtain illegal ivory.

Ivory Elephant Tusks

Long viewed as one of the most impressive hunting-trophies an officer could seek, Elephant tusks were often seen in Officer’s Messes throughout the British Empire.

As the numbers of elephants and other rare big game animals dwindled, focuses shifted from hunting to protection, with trade in ivory and rhino horn being controlled or outlawed.

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