3 Traders caught with a leopard and a tiger skin in Dindigul ,India in 2009.
Yemeni Men in traditional outfits and ceremonial daggers called jambiyas(ornately carved handles made from rhino’s horns)
Did you know that we humans are responsible for wildlife species that are on the brink of extinction ? Yes, there is an increasing awareness about global warming and the negative effects on our planet. This definitely is the number one cause. But, I wish to bring your attention to the mass extinction being faced by some of the most exotic species just because of our apathy and greed. Yes, greed ! What is it that these poor beasts in the wild have to offer us that brutally hunting them means everything to us. Human beings were created to co-exist with animals, birds and fish. All living creatures giving each other space. That’s how God intended us to be. To enjoy all nature and moving creatures.
But what is the reality ? Wild creatures are being caught or maimed or just killed by poachers. Selling body parts of these animals fetches them money. Yes, though Governments across the world have laws in place to stop hunting of wild animals, and trading of animal body parts, it still goes on, and forest officials are not able to curb this. Several organizations have taken it upon themselves to fight this on their own or in collaboration with Governments, but much still needs to be done.
Who are these poachers ?
- Either they are simply barbaric or they are very poor and impoverished, looking to make some money.
- The illegal traders make a killing once they lay their hands on the loot.
Read on to find some facts that will shock you-how animals are being butchered so as to satisfy the human greed.
Who buys animal body parts and why ?
- People with bizarre cultural or religious beliefs. Wealthy people who wish to display such exotic and rare items as showpieces.
- Eating the flesh of rare species is considered an aphrodisiac and serving the same to guests at a dinner one hosts is considered a status symbol.
- Fur and skin from these animals is used to make coats, jackets, purses, etc. Some are displayed on walls or used as carpets. Rich Chinese and Europeans make such purchases. The Tibetans, and people of Qinghai and Xinjiang use tiger skins as trim for their traditional costumes.
- Some like to stuff the head or the whole carcass and display it in their living room.
- Traditional medicine such as the Chinese medicine calls for body parts of some exotic species of animals.
Today, animal trade over the internet is reaching alarming proportions pushing several animals to extinction. Illegal animal trade goes on at such a rapid rate that many of the animals will remain on celluloid or books when we want to show our grandchildren. Much like the dinosaurs.
Top 5 Animals That Are Always In Demand For Their Body Parts
Tigers : Although trade in tiger pelts and body parts was banned in 1990 under the Convention in Trade in Endangered Species,illegal trade in tiger skins and bones continues unabated and fuels the poaching of tigers. Tiger pelts sell for $ 12,500 in China. And can go up to $ 15,000. Bones and body parts cost twice that amount. A 1993 ban on trading of tiger bones in China has not deterred the setting up of tiger farms servicing the need for tiger bones in oriental medicine. A soup made of tiger penis is a popular aphrodisiac. Skins are used in designing fashion garments and the bones are popularly used in oriental medicine. In India alone, which is home to 40% of the world tiger population, with 23 tiger reserves, there were 40,000 tigers a century ago. And today, the numbers have dwindled drastically to a mere 1411. The world’s wild tiger count was 100,000 a century ago and now only 3,200.
Gory pictures of a tiger being skinned – See it only if you have the stomach for it.
Black Rhinoceros : The horns of the black rhinoceros is used in traditional Chinese medicine, and used ornamentally too (rhino horns are ornately carved handles for ceremonial daggers worn by men in the Middle East), and this is the primary reason for rhinos falling prey to poachers. The rhinos have 2 horns, the longer one being in the front. In the 60’s there were atleast 70,000 rhinos in the wild and in 1999, only 2,410. The rhino poachers are known to be backed by organized crime syndicates who rely upon sophisticated equipment to use in poaching. Helicopters, night vision binoculars and body armor are a few must-haves while poaching. Their inhuman method consists of simply chopping off a rhino’s horn and leave it bleeding to death. 90 % of the 23,000 black rhinos of the world are in the African wild and as many as 20 rhinos fall prey to poachers every single month. Rather alarming, isn’t it ? A rhino’s horn fetches more than gold to a poacher, hence poaching of rhinos is rampant in Africa, thus endangering the species.
Whales : Several whale species are fighting extinction. Whales are being hunted for their meat. Despite a moratorium being adopted by the International Whaling Commission, on commercial whaling in 1986, endangered species such as Humpbacks, Blue and Minke whales are being hunted illegally by Japan citing scientific reasons although a sizable portion finds its way into the commercial market as was found out by a Greenpeace investigation in 2009.
African Elephant : The African elephant was earlier valued alive for its hauling capabilities but today, it is only valued only for the ivory from its long tusks which are used in intricate carvings by Chinese merchants.Elephants are killed by poachers to saw off the tusks and leaving the bodies behind to rot.Although hunting of wild elephants has been banned in many African countries, poachers are too poor and impoverished and want to make a quick profit. Today, there are only about 500,00 African elephants left compared to the 5-10 million in 1930’s.
Wolf : Hunted for skin and for sport by humans, wolves are dwindling in numbers. The wolf is killed just because it is considered a pest and a threat. Wolf pelts are used increasingly as fashion clothing. The gray wolf faces extinction and the red wolf was declared extinct in the US in 1980. Because of a captive breeding program undertaken, about 200 wolves were reintroduced into the wild over the last 10 years, but they are still an endangered species.
Have you ever wondered what you can do to prevent this mass extinction ? Blog about it, write about it so more people become aware of the dangers of harming our environment and the animals within. Do not encourage trade of animal body parts and report to the nearest authorities if you come across such illegal trade. Donate liberally to wild life organizations that fight poaching and corruption. Volunteer with such organizations.
If you know of more ways to help use the Comments section to let us know.
Indian Ofiicials display confiscated tiger and leopard skins and poachers’ guns at Khaga, India in the year 2000.
Davis Beckham sporting a tiger skin
Helicopters used to chase and kill black rhinos in the wild
Poor Indian Rhino lost its horn to greedy poachers
Commercial Whaling in Japan
Elephant tusks for illegal trade
Wolf Hunting for fun?
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