by J. Lee
Wildlife Poaching and Wildlife Smuggling
Another troubling aspect of the threat to survival of animals in the wild and the eco-systems in which they exist, is the smuggling of exotic animals which are captured from their native habitats. Some were bought from roadside zoos or from backyard breeders. Many are sold at auctions, pet stores or over the Internet.
The smuggling of exotic animals includes not just live animals, but also includes body parts from animals killed in their environment; heads, ivory and horns, feet, hooves, hands, organs, skin/fur, shark fins for shark fin soup, teeth and more.
Wikipedia defines wildlife smuggling as:
“Wildlife smuggling or trafficking involves the illegal gathering, transportation, and distribution of animals and their derivatives. … Products demanded by the trade include exotic pets, food, traditional medicine, clothing, and jewelry made from animals tusks, fins, skins, shells, horns, and internal organs.”
Another practice that has attracted attention from animal advocates is what Wiki describes as ‘Shark Finning‘:
Shark finning refers to the removal and retention of shark fins and the discard at sea of the carcass. The shark is most often still alive when it is tossed back into the water. Unable to swim, the shark slowly sinks toward the bottom where it is eaten alive by other fish.
Finally, poaching of wildlife such as elephants, rhinos, gorillas, Bengal tigers and leopards is an uphill battle that can be won. Thanks to rescue groups and armed soldiers, these are now protected.
Ivory and horns are used for medicine of no value, jewelry and various trinkets. Confiscated ivory and rhino horns have been burned in countries including Vietnam, Africa, Czech Republic and China.
In the Congo basin, gorillas face the threat of poaching and logging. Gorillas are poached for meat, but their hands and feet are used for souvenirs.
National Geographic sees Gorilla hunting as an extreme risk to the Gorilla community and the eco-system they inhabit. This video provides a context to the problem:
The illegal wildlife trade is worth tens of billions of dollars each year and dramatically impacts legally operating businesses and tourism around the world.
“Rhino poaching has escalated in recent years and is being driven by the demand for rhino horn in Asian countries, particularly Vietnam. It is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine but more and more commonly now it is used as a status symbol to display someone’s success and wealth.”
“Ivory poaching for tusks is the main reason that elephants have been so heavily hunted. Elephant ivory has been used in huge amounts to make billiards balls, piano keys, identification chops and many other items for human enjoyment.”
The Guardian: “African elephants could be extinct in wild within decades, experts say.”
WWF: But today very few rhino survive outside national parks and reserves. Two species of rhino in Asia—Javan and Sumatran—are Critically Endangered. A subspecies of the Java rhino was declared extinct in Vietnam in 2011.
GLOBAL MARCH FOR ELEPHANTS AND RHINOS – “For the third year in a row, people in cities all over the world will march as one voice to save Elephants and Rhinos. Every 15 minutes an elephant is killed for its tusks, just to be carved into useless ivory trinkets. That’s 96 a day and over 30,000 a year. A rhino is slaughtered once every 9-11 hours for its horn. Please march with us to Save Elephants and Rhinos.”
Oct. 1, 2017 is the next Global March for Elephants and Rhinos in San Diego. San Diego is holding their march in Balboa Park, 1549 El Prado, San Diego from 11 am – 4 pm. The event will be held in numerous locations so check your area to find an event near you.
Sept. 25, 2016 – Global March for Elephants and Rhinos held at the Waterfront Park, San Diego. Photos (below) of Coe Lewis who is Co-Founder of NSEFU Wildlife conservation Foundation and J. Lee who is the author of this story and a group photo of all of us who marched at the event.
The Foundation’s MISSION is two-fold:
- To preserve and protect the wildlife in Zambia, while developing and supporting community programs which provide economically viable alternatives to poaching.
- To educate the NSEFU Community, particularly its youth, about the critical importance of environmental and ecological stewardship.
My first story in this series: