Poaching is a very serious issue Africa faces. Not only does it harm animals – since it’s not merely killing them but leaving creatures in states of suffering – it also upends systems essential for humans. But complications arise in many areas. For example, ivory trade has a near universal ban, but some are asking for certain aspects of it to be lifted for the good the people.
As the Sidney Morning Heralds highlights:
“Zimbabwe and Namibia have asked for a global ban on ivory trade to be lifted so that they can use the proceeds of national stockpiles of tusks to fund conservation and support communities living near elephants.”
At a recent meeting on Johannesburg, the UN’s Conference on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) rejected the request
Imposed in 1989, the ban on trading ivory products was made in response to large amounts of poaching – yet domestic trade has remained legal in many countries. In July 2016, America imposed a near-total ban on domestic ivory trade within its own borders. Yet, what Zimbabwe and Namibia were requesting was to use the proceeds from already existing national stockpiles to give back to the very communities left devastated by such poaching. The theory is the harm has already been done, so why not use what’s left to remedy that harm.
Africa is attempting to tackle the ivory trading problem in other ways, too. For example, new canine units have been trained to aid in anti-poaching activity. As Defence Web highlights: “The dogs are mainly being trained for anti-poaching operations, and are thus able to track poachers, attack them if necessary and sniff out evidence such as rhino horn and spent cartridges.”
Getting more hi-tech, however, we also see the use of drones. Since the land is a barrier in a number of ways – physically as well as in terms of borders – having the skies offers little restriction.
The initiative is supported by Google and the WWF conservation group
Protecting wildlife isn’t merely the domain of idealists or eco-warriors. It’s important for everyone, especially African citizens. Aside from caring about animal life, we should have concerns for the way animals are treated because it speaks to wider societal concerns. For example, bad wildlife policies usually reflect bad environmental policy in general. This means less concern for being green and acting in ways that benefit the planet. Animals are important for biodiversity and natural systems – without them, plantlife and other aspects of nature fail. We need animals for the planet’s welfare in many ways.
African countries, citizens and businesses must take a more concerted effort in its response to animals.