i know that this is a depressing subject for a blog but there has been a lot in the news lately about the poaching of wild animals so I felt moved by my anger and sadness to write about it. The news items lately have mainly featured the spate of killing by poachers of endangered species like rhino and elephants in Africa. Just recently an entire family of elephants, twelve of them (eleven adults and a calf) were brutally slaughtered in the Tsavo National Park in Kenya for their ivory. The family were ruthlessly gunned down by automatic rifles and their tusks were hacked out. In 2012 alone the number of elephants killed by poachers is believed to be 360, according to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
Shockingly, the illegal ivory trade is believed to be the highest it has been in two decades, since being banned internationally since 1989. Apparently there is a growing demand for ivory in Asia, particularly in China, among the expanding middle class. Organised crime syndicates are thought to be behind the buying up and smuggling of ivory into Asian countries such as China, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and the Philippines. A report shows that over half the illegal ivory ends up in China, where it is openly sold, despite certification which bans it. It is sickening to discover that most of the large-scale seizures of ivory fail to result in arrests and prosecutions which it obviously should do, so we need to really pile on the pressure to get these scumbags who deal in ivory to feel the full force of the law! Unbelievably, some are proposing lifting the international ban , in the wake of this growing demand for illegal ivory. How can we justify making something legal when it causes so much suffering and death to wild animals, and is causing the near-extinction of certain species? What we need is better law enforcement against poachers and to deter consumers from buying it, not re-legalising it. Unfortunately, the very fact that it is banned and illicit is what makes it so desirable to many people. Why are the lives and well-being of other creatures of so little value?
Please sign this petition to keep ivory illegal: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/779/245/607/keep-the-ban-on-elephant-ivory/
I gather that the park rangers in Africa are all armed and have a shoot-to-kill policy when it comes to poachers, which I am very pleased about! There was at least one report of a poacher being shot dead recently in a stand-off with rangers, whilst trying to kill rhino. I don't feel sorry for any poachers who die this way: after all, they have absolutely no mercy towards defenceless animals, they are hunting them for sheer human greed and vanity. So I say GO park rangers! Ah, if only the poachers were the endangered species, eh?
Sorry this is such a sad and angry blog, but I hope it has at least raised more awareness of the scale of this problem. Your votes and comments are much appreciated.
Picture courtesy of www.faceofmalawi.com
Image credit: Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz)