― Marc Bekoff, The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy - and Why They Matter
Tragic news. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has officially listed
Africa's western black rhino extinct. Unbelievably tragic, because this was entirely preventable by humanity. The announcement was made following the latest review of animals and plants by the world's largest conservation network. The IUCN also warned that other rhinos are in critical danger including Africa's northern white rhino which is "teetering on the brink of extinction" and Asia's Javan rhino, fighting for life due to continued poaching and lack of conservation. We don't care and if we do, we aren't doing enough.
The causes of animal poaching are a widely open topic but greed tops the list. Animal poaching occurs when illegal hunters seek out and kill endangered animals or animals that could be in a protected area. The majority of illegal hunters do it strictly for money. It's seen as a business venture similar to trading stock or buying real estate. The selling of illegal animal products around the world profits somewhere in the high millions if not billions. A few hunters may kill for the ‘thrill’ or ‘fun’ involved where others poach for the products themselves.
The effect that poaching has reaches far past the animals that are hunted, but the surrounding areas and animals as well. Having a non-natural food chain link added into a wildlife food supply is a huge issue of survival for other animals. Poaching is causing animals that have been in the world for thousands and thousands of years to become endangered and now extinct. There are not enough of these animals to reproduce and they lack food to survive. The animals at the top of the food chain rely on the animals at the lower end. They are dying of starvation because of human beings. Do you think this doesn't effect us?
With illegal animal poaching comes the illegal animal trade. Gangs, drugs, illegal firearms are introduced to these areas or control and manipulate the surrounding population. They are nothing more than warlords. Radical animal poachers as well as illegal buyers are ruthless and heavily armed people. In many cases, local villagers are too scared to speak out in fear for their own lives. The video above Poaching Wars is the first part of a two part documentary filmed in Africa earlier this year.(both parts one and two can be seen in their entirety on YouTube.com) We follow compassionate British actor Tom Hardy, who narrates the unflinching reality of impassioned conservationists, wildlife experts and those brave enough to stand against illegal poachers.