“When more robust animals were enabled, by means of humans and their boats,
to reach the havens or backwaters that island birds were inhabiting,
they wreaked havoc…
with the greatest single threat coming from the most ruthless
predator ever to emerge on this planet: Homo sapiens.
Quite apart from hunting and harrying,
the human capacity for destroying or otherwise altering habitat is almost unlimited”
-Errol Fuller, Extinct Birds
If something is not done to stop the traffic of wildlife animal parts, we will be living in such a world pretty soon!
As I said in previous posts, extinction is part of the life cycle of this planet, but the accelerated rate at which we are losing species is far from normal. Climate change, habitat destruction and encroaching, human-animal conflict, those are some of the problems that we are prepared to deal with. But how do we deal with flat out crime, increasing greed and unbelievable cruelty?
Rhino horn, elephant ivory and tiger products are highly valued among consumers willing to pay very high prices, especially in Asia. In Vietnam, the recent myth that rhino horn can cure cancer has increased rhino poaching is South Africa by 3000% (between 2007 – 2010) in case you are wondering whether I made a mistake and there is an extra 0 let me spell it for you three thousand percent, can you even make sense of that number? I know that I can’t. Want more facts, every year at least 25,000 elephants are killed by poachers for their tusks to feed the ivory-hungry Chinese market. What about tigers? There are only 3200 tigers (all species) left in the wild, nevertheless every part of the tiger is traded in illegal wildlife markets. These parts are used for traditional medicine, folk remedies, and as a status symbol among wealthy Asians.
And I’m not even going to mention the amount of animals from other species, as well as people committed to protect wildlife that are killed every year in this war against greed. Back in June of this year a militia of criminals massacred six people, two of them wildlife rangers from the Institute in the Congo for Conservation of Nature (ICCN) and 13 endangered okapi at a Congo wildlife reserve in retaliation for recent efforts by the rangers to stop illegal elephant poaching and gold mining inside the Okapi Wildlife Reserve.
These criminals want to be free to reopen the mines and poach wildlife without interference. It is unbelievable!! And please don’t come up with the argument that they need money to feed their families…while many poachers do need money to survive and unfortunately find it easier to get it by killing wildlife, the militia that attacked the Okapi Wildlife Reserve were just a bunch of murderers.
I wonder when there’s nothing left to kill or poach, how are these people going to survive? When species disappear before their time the whole ecosystem is condemned because everything is interconnected.
Some will say that now they will have enough land for agriculture and raise their cattle? But guess what you need money to buy and raise cows, sheep and goats. Conservation organizations won’t have any interest in helping because there will be nothing to conserve and tourists won’t bring the big dollars because who will travel so far just to see cows and sheep, we can see that at home.
Governments are beginning to pay attention! It was encouraging to listen to Secretary Clinton remarks last week during an event organized by the U.S. State Department. Wildlife Trafficking and Conservation: A Call to Action brought together foreign ambassadors, and leaders from international organizations, non-governmental conservation organizations and the private sector. According to Secretary Clinton “this is a global challenge that spans continents and crosses oceans, and we need to address it with partnerships that are as robust and far-reaching as the criminal networks we seek to dismantle.” Let’s hope these words turn soon into action because this situation is deadly serious!