Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Animal poaching in Africa

Illegal poaching of many endangered animals is still reality in Africa despite efforts by environmentalists and African countries' governments. While many poachers hunt for trade or fun there is also a significant number of people that poach just to eat something because many African countries are running out of food.

There is very small number of animals that aren't of interest to poachers. Just for instance more than 1,200 tusks were discovered earlier this year (2007) in Tanzania. Rhinos and elephants are two species that were severely hunted in 1980s and their poaching still isn't thing of the past, although thankfully poaching intensity significantly dropped because of combined action of countries' governments and environmentalists.

Elephants are still marked as "favorite victim" of poachers and large number of them is killed every year because of precious ivory and well developed ivory black market. But thankfully so, elephant number despite this merciless hunt has steady growth since the bloody 1980s and 199os.

Valuable ivory is the main reason for their merciless poaching and ivory black market is literally blooming. Some say that solution would be establishing legal ivory trade but that could easy backfire and cause double danger. It's very difficult situation indeed because currently there's no good enough alternative that would stop the ivory trade since there's a lot of money in stake.
One of possible solutions could be orientation to tourism industry which has lot of potential and would include many people giving them job to survive but since tourism isn't fully developed in many countries, poaching is still acceptable alternative to many people and basically a common thing.

Rhinos (black and white) are also target of many poachers because of their valuable horn and some other by-products and are facing same problems as elephants do. Black rhino is especially endangered since the number of black rhinos decreased since 1980 by more than 80 %.

At this moment there's not a chance that poaching will stop and elephants, rhinos, and many other animals will be mercilessly hunted. Black market is too strong and countries lack acceptable alternatives that would satisfy their population providing them food and job.

My guess is that Africa as long as it remains poor will be subject of many controversies and black market oasis, not only for poachers but for many other illegal businesses (i.e. illegal diamond trade).

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