“Why should we care? They’re just animals and they make good money.”
“It’s inhumane to enact trophy hunting in Africa!”
“It helps the economy.”
“But they’re almost extinct!”
Poaching: When an animal is killed illegally; because the animal possesses something that is considered valuable.
Poaching can substantially benefit humans because rhino horn and elephant ivory may be used for medicinal purposes. The horn of a rhino acquires a thin layer of keratin around it which is why it is believed to be a cure for cancer. Supposedly, in the mid-2000’s rhino horn was the cure to a very important Vietnamese politician’s cancer and from there on has been a persistent shoot in favor of the use of rhino horn for cancer. On the other hand, ivory has been in Chinese tradition for centuries. New York Times writer, Dan Levin, claims that “Popular lore tells of emperors who believed ivory chopsticks would change color upon contact with poisoned food. In Chinese medicine, ivory powder is said to purge toxins from the body and give a luminous complexion.” (Levin, NYTimes).
Additionally, poaching has become a widespread, worldwide business that has injected billions of dollars a year into the economy of different countries and is exponentially growing. In China, an elephant tusk can sell for about $2,000 or more. Poaching creates jobs that result in a positive impact on economy. It is a job that requires performance and skills and allows employers to provide promotions and health benefits as a result of a high payout. A handful of governors in the United States are for poaching only for it’s resulting economic growth.
Is it really worth it to kill animals that are on the brink of endangerment and ultimately, extinction? Elephants are very similar to humans. They have the ability to be gay, left-handed, and heartbroken. They are underestimated intellectually and in emotional ability as well. In 2011, the Western Black Rhinoceros was deemed extinct because of their healing horn properties. Killing these animals puts a gauging impact on our world’s biodiversity and is completely irreversible. This is not just a “Oh yeah maybe one day” issue that arises only because of statistics. Over a century ago, there were more than a million rhinoceros’s in Africa. Now, poaching is leading to direct extinction of rhino’s in Africa. Most statistics state that the number of wild rhino’s in Africa left range from 22-25,000, a plummet of almost 97% over the last one hundred years.
Furthermore, the depletion of these animals can cause very social impacts on our society. Many people enjoy seeing a very raw and untouched planet. Our kid’s have the potential of not seeing a rhino or elephant in their lifetime due to poaching. The way they will see these extinct animals will be like us thinking about extinct dinosaurs. Poaching advertises the black market in a positive way because it makes so much money for it. Additionally, poaching has become #5 in the highest illegal trade in the world, right behind drug trafficking. Most poachers state that they actually enjoy killing animals especially because of the pay and trophies. It requires only a part of the animal, not the whole body. In many instances, elephants go through the excruciating pain of having their tusks cut off (equivalent to sawing a human limb off) and being left in the wild to die. At that point, it is based off ethics and morals as to how poaches kill these beautiful creatures.
There is more to nature conservation than just tree-hugging hippies strapping themselves to a tree in order to stop a city from cutting down a tree. This stuff is serious. These animals have been around for centuries and now because of human caused events, their populations are drastically depleting. How sad would it be if our kids never know what an elephant is? How upsetting would it be never being able to buy them a stuffed animal in the shape of an elephant because they have no idea what it even is? Moreover, these animals have more feelings and psychological well-beings than we claim to know. Elephants travel as families and have lifelong partners. They do not deserve to be threatened by the human race. Poaching promotes the use of the black market and there is little done to stop it. The WWF (World Wildlife) organization states that, “A total of 1,215 rhinos were illegally killed in South Africa in 2014, according to South African officials. This is a staggering increase of 21 percent over the record 1,004 poached in 2013” (WWF.org) We still have a chance to save the population of not only poached species but others as well. It is in our hands to fix the damage we have done for a happier and healthier Pangea.
Visual aid: Rhino poaching has increased by 9,300% (WWF.org)
Levin, Dan. “From Elephants’ Mouths, an Illicit Trail to China.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 01 Mar. 2013. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.