New York (CNN) - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke starkly Thursday about ivory poaching in Africa, warning the practice funds terrorism in one of the world's tumultuous regions and could push the elephant species to extinction.
"There is growing evidence that the terrorist groups stalking Africa, including Al-Shabaab with its horrific attack on the mall in Nairobi, fund their terrorist activities to a great extent from ivory trafficking," Clinton told attendees at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting.
At least 67 people were killed after Al-Shabaab gunmen stormed the Westgate mall in Kenya's capital Saturday.
Clinton said unless poaching is reversed the African forest elephant could be extinct within a decade.
"I can't even grasp what a great disaster this is," she said. "I hope we can act out of concern for elephants but also out of concern for the security challenges that poachers are causing for our friends in Africa and beyond."
She was joined by her daughter Chelsea and a group of African leaders to announce an $80 million dollar commitment to tackle the problem, including training enforcement officers and launching a public awareness campaign to dissuade people from purchasing ivory.
Clinton was expected to appear with her husband and daughter at the Clinton Global Initiative closing event Thursday afternoon.