Poaching in Africa

Poaching is one of the world’s most prevalent issues in relation to certain animal species. In Africa where poaching is the most problematic, the economy also suffers because of the increasing amount of poaching over the last decade. Poaching has mainly affected the black rhino, the African elephant, the lion, the mountain gorilla, and the gravy’s zebra, and all are now very close to extinction because poaching and its effects on the environment. Now fewer than 900 mountain gorillas remain, 85% of the lion’s historic range has been lost, approximately 2,000 zebras are left, up to 35,000 elephants were killed last year and the black rhino’s population has dropped 97.6% since 1960. Though the zebras, gorillas, and lions are an extremely serious case, what’s currently a rising problem is the poaching of elephants and rhinos for their ivory horns or tusks.
The reason for this rising demand for rhino horn and elephant tusks is because the wealthy of certain countries have somehow created the belief that consuming these things will cure hangovers, cancer, fevers, and impotence. None of these “cures” have been scientifically proved, but even so, poachers continue their trade. Being able to buy these items also demonstrates status because the price is extremely high. A pound of rhino horn costs $30,000, which is $8,000 more than a pound of gold. The ivory taken from these animals can also be used for jewelry, utensils, trinkets, and religious figurines.
Because of this rising demand for ivory, environmental groups, animal rights groups, government agencies, and even the Duke of Cambridge are calling for an end to wildlife poaching. Other groups such as The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), The World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), and the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) are leading international efforts to end wildlife poaching. Since their collaboration in this effort, eight people have been sentenced to jail between 2010 and 2012 for trying to smuggle over three tons of ivory over the border. Every bit of help in this effort to end the cruel poaching of the animals is vital, but unfortunately stopping poaching altogether is a very difficult task that will take many years to accomplish.
When approaching the issue to end poaching, officials cannot just target the African poachers, they must also target the countries receiving those valuables. The officials must find a way to create more security in areas where valuables are commonly received. Though there is international help, Africa must also provide help in their realm as well. In Africa, there are few troops in the wildlife parks, so there’s little to no one monitoring the animals or the activity tat goes on around the area all the time. One of the main factors in ending poaching is to have the full cooperation from those in Africa and international authorities.
The approach to ending poaching goes even farther than just having cooperation on all sides. Africa has a failing economy with many people earing less than $1.50 a day. Finding the money to hire, train, and pay people to protect the wildlife, is another difficult task. In the past, Africa’s economy relied on its wildlife and animals to bring in tourists and business. Some animals that weren’t intended to be targeted by poachers become caught in the traps and are killed in the process. These animals are often ones that the poorer citizens catch and live off of. By losing much of the wildlife and animals, Africa is suffering about $20 million in economic losses each year. About 9 million of that loss is from the tourists’ direct spending, which includes hotels and souvenirs. If trends continue this way, the economy will continue to drop and the people will continue to suffer, not just the animals. Poaching is not only an international problem but it’s also the reason for the suffering of many people in Africa.

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