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Why animal poaching needs to stop & how you can help stop it

by Staff Writer
16 Jan 2020 at 14:09hrs | Views
Animal poaching continues to be a major issue in the conservation of many animal species. Despite efforts to stop poaching, it continues to persist. Many people do not realize the extent of the problem and the effect that it is having on the world's wildlife, as well as the environment in general. This is not a problem that needs to be addressed in a few years' time; it is a very real and current issue that is seriously affecting many species of animals in the wild. From tigers, elephants, gorillas, rhinos, and many other species, many of the world's animals are in danger on a daily basis from poachers.

Why Is Poaching Such A Threat to Our Wildlife?
Sadly, poaching is a very lucrative business, and therefore, it is allowed to continue without becoming a political priority. For example, a poacher is able to sell a rhino horn for around 100 times more than the average wage of a standard villager who lives in their community.

With poverty often rife in these areas of the world, unfortunately, poaching is becoming an increasingly attractive career, and local gangs continue to go unnoticed. In fact, poaching has become more of a sophisticated business in recent years, with helicopters, night-vision equipment, and tranquilizers all being used to kill sought-after animals in the dark, when local police are less likely to be patrolling the area.

Once these animals have been slaughtered, they can be sold for a variety of commercial reasons; ivory tusks can be used to create display pieces, and the meat from animals such as snakes and apes can be sold at a high price, as they are considered to be a delicacy. Animals can also be targeted to stop them from attacking livestock or destroying local crops; this is common for lions and elephants in Africa, as well as coyotes in North America.

Poaching is not solely limited to killing animals in the wild; birds, reptiles and primates are often captured and then sold as exotic pets, often to owners who do not take care of them properly.

Why Poaching Needs to Stop
The most obvious reason why poaching needs to stop is the danger of certain species becoming wiped out forever. Take the African elephant, for instance; currently, the number of elephants being killed each year is higher than the number of elephants being born, meaning that if this continues, they will undoubtedly become extinct.

The Asian elephant is even more at risk, with only around 90,000 left worldwide, due to their habitats being destroyed to build highways and to develop land. African rhinos are also in danger, with 8,889 having lost their lives to poaching in the last decade, due to the value of their horns.

Poaching also has a detrimental effect on the welfare of animals, with the exotic pet trade business booming. Another aspect of poaching – and another reason why it needs to end - is that it increases criminal behavior within a community, such as money laundering and corruption.

Poaching does not only put the lives of animals at risk; it also poses a threat to the rangers who continually put their lives on the line, day in and day out, to try and protect these species. Most poachers will not hesitate to shoot a ranger if they stand between them and their prized animal, yet these men and women still fight to save endangered animals. A particular National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo is infamous for its dangerous conditions, with nearly 200 rangers killed in the past two decades.

How to Stop Poaching and Help Protect Endangered Species
Sadly, there is not a magic wand that can be waved to instantly end the problem of poaching, nor is there one single action that can be taken to help protect these at-risk animals; however, there are steps that can be taken to help stop poaching, and in turn help preserve endangered species.

Move Those Most At-Risk to Wildlife Parks
Although controversial, unfortunately, there are some areas in the world where endangered animals simply cannot be protected. Therefore, endangered animals are actually safer once they are imported to a ZAA accredited facility. Virginia Safari Park is one of these facilities, and they have recently welcomed a third baby rhino into their park, whose father was also a resident of the park.

"Many of the rhinos within the same original territory in the wild as the females here at Virginia Safari Park have since been poached for their horns." said Eric Mogensen, Corporate Director and CEO of Virginia Safari Park.  "It is important for the long-term survival of the species, and for our conservation programs in general, to set up additional breeding groups to assist with this cause."

Wild rhinos are one of the most at-risk animals in the wild, with experts predicting that they could become extinct in as little as 20 years.

Take Wildlife Trafficking Seriously
Sadly, wildlife products are not often seized by the local authorities; they simply do not see it as a priority. However, if poachers and illegal traders felt more under threat from the government, law enforcement officers and/or private sectors, they may think twice about trying to traffic wildlife products. The problem of corruption also needs to be addressed, with people in power being made accountable for their actions, to act as a deterrent in the future.

Lessen the Demand for Wildlife Products
It is a clear case of supply and demand. If there is no demand for these products, then poachers will stop slaughtering these animals, as there will be no monetary incentive to do so. Currently, there are several wildlife initiatives being put in place to try and change consumer behavior around wildlife products. Yes, this will no doubt be a slow process, with mindsets not likely to change overnight, but it is a step in the right direction.

Source - Byo24News

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