The Plight of Poaching
One unseen problem with poaching, and when I say poaching I mean big game poaching, these days is that only certain species are highlighted and brought into the international spotlight. If you ask anyone about poaching in Africa they will most likely tell you about the plight of the Rhino. It disgusts me that we live in a world where the price of Rhino horn can reach up to 5 times the price of gold especially when the all it is keratin…the same as our fingernails!
But what is more disheartening is that the media and general public ignore so many other species. It shocked me to find out that every 20 minutes, the world adds another 3,500 human lives but loses one or more entire species of animal or plant life – that’s at least 27,000 species per year!
Two mighty African species are being poached at unprecedented rates and many people have no idea its going on. Almost everybody around the world knows about the mighty African Elephant and prodigious African Lion but not many know they are on the brink of extinction.
In the last 40 years, the African lion population has plummeted from roughly 200,000 free roaming lions to around 20,000 today. A huge contributing factor is poaching. Not many people know that in parts of Asia lion bone wine has stepped into replace its tiger bone cousin as a supposed cure-all. In fact between 2009 and 2010, exports of lion bones from South Africa has risen 250%. A complete lion skeleton can sell for as much as USD$9000.
In 1930 it was estimated that 7-10 million elephants roamed the globe. Today only 300,000 remain. It is estimated that between 30,000 and 38,000 elephants are poached every year for their ivory – that is almost 1000 elephants per day. If we continue this trend…the largest and grandest land mammal to walk the globe will be extinct in the next 10 years.
I’m not saying that highlighting and getting the public aware a particular species is a bad thing; I wear a Save the Rhino bracelet in support, but I think humans should realize that there are things going on that the media does not cover and its your responsibility to open your eyes and educate yourselves.
I like to think of tragedy of the commons in reverse. If one person does a little bit, and the person next to them does their little bit; next thing you know talk has become action and change is on its way.
Lets hope for the sake of species such as, but not limited to, the African Elephant and Lion we wake up and realize what we are doing to our planet and its inhabitants before its too late.
☮ & ♥