THE ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE – The Jungle Warriors
Even though everyday we are becoming more conscious of the animal-human conflict there’s still a long way to go. In the last posts we have been talking about climate change and how it affects the animal kingdom or how destroying their habitats is killing hundreds of species every day. But today, we wanted to approach the issue from another side; Did you know that the illegal wildlife trade generates up to 20 billion dollars annually? It is the fourth most lucrative in the world.
The French writer, Milan Kundera said: “Humanity’s true moral test, its fundamental test, consist of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy; animals”. Well, we have demonstrate very little because this repulsive “business”, remains active mainly because of two reasons: Either because there are people who still have a strong confidence in medicinal traditional methods and practices that are completely medieval or what’s worse, people who see animals as mere trophies to hang on the wall or things to keep trapped in their backyards.
This is just an example so you can escalate the magnitude of the problem but, did you know that The United States is the second country in the world second only by China in the list of illegal animal trading. According to the Washington Post, around 10,000 homes would be housing tigers illegally.
Before, the black market was ‘confined’ to places where exotic species where accessible. However, now a day with the Internet, the problem has significantly expanded. Illegal collectors can easily find what they are looking for in the Dark Web, a place where people can anonymously negotiate with drugs, guns, child pornography and of course animals.
Let’s talk numbers…Did you know that a live gorilla is worth up to 400.000 dollars? Or that people pay 200.000 per pound of bear bile? And did you know that a kilogram of elephant ivory can fetch 2000$ on the black market? And that the same amount of rhino horn can command 65.000$ which is more than cocaine or platinum…At the end of this article you will find a chart with some numbers, just some information about how much people are willing to pay for some animals or their organs.
Recently, thanks to an increase in the awareness raising efforts countries like India or China, are enabling new laws for animal protection and also for natural conservation since destroying the habitat where these species live would lead them to extinction too. It is also important to note that poachers are being punished with jail sentences and economical fines and there is now a more thorough control of this illegal practices.
Kindness and compassion towards all living things is what a civilized society should look like and it is crystal clear that we are far from resembling that if we cannot even make peace among our own kind… Animals are not toys, they are not something we can use and dispose when we want to and how we want to: they are our equals. This is a big world, big enough for everyone in it and they have the same rights we claim for our-selves.
AFRICAN GREY PARROT: 2,000$