Thursday, May 14, 2015

Preventing Wildlife Crime

Poaching is one of the most profitable illicit trades in the world.  Certain organs, tusks, horns, etc., are removed by poachers due to demand for a product's supposed medicinal properties or decorative purpose.  Even when Namibia dehorned rhinos residing within its borders, poachers killed them for the remaining stump of the horn.  Tusks cannot be removed from elephants without killing them, but poachers don't always kill them before removal, causing the elephant great pain as they die during the extraction. In an attempt to bring this more attention, the World Wildlife Fund is leading a global campaign to stop animal poaching.  "I am not a trinket" and "I am not a rug" confronts poachers and buyers about their objectification of living beings.
The campaign could use more graphic images of the abuse that victims have gone through during the harvesting of their parts, but as Terry Macko of the WWF stated, "Individuals are really turned off by graphic images and we don't need to show gratuitous violence to really show what is happening to species around the world."  Perhaps Macko is right, as Spiegel noted that people tend to deny reality if it makes them uncomfortable, and money is often the main concern of workers and customers.  Do the buyers understand that they are also at  of a species' extinction, do they really believe that rhino horn can cure cancer?  There is only one male Northern White Rhinoceros left in the world, kept under constant surveillance for his safety.  Poaching not only hurts the individual victim, but also lethal to the survival of an entire species.  

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