4 December – World Wildlife Conservation Day
The sad truth is that the world’s best loved, beautiful and fascinating species are being slaughtered by widespread and dangerous criminal networks that will stop at nothing to get what they want. And what they want are animal parts and products that, for reasons no sane person really understands, are worth lots of money.
There are plenty of synthetic substitutes for things like ivory and fur that don’t require the brutal slaughter of an animal to obtain, not to mention how hard it actually is to tell the difference between high-quality synthetic substitutes and the real thing. And do you mean to tell me no other dish in the world tastes as good as shark fin soup, and that we really have to mutilate live sharks and then throw them back into the ocean to die? Long story short, there is simply no excuse for the amount of animals being poached every year.
And it is not just the animals that are suffering. Park rangers get killed on a regular basis by poachers they’re trying to stop, and the local economies of entire towns and villages suffer terrible damage once enough wildlife is wiped out to make them irrelevant as wildlife tourism destinations. Corruption and intimidation are weakening law enforcement efforts. Unscreened wildlife and wildlife parts increase the risk of human health pandemics such as bird flu. Everyone involved is suffering.
“Wildlife cannot be manufactured. And once it’s gone, it cannot be replenished. Those who profit from it illegally are not just undermining our borders and our economies, they are truly stealing from the next generation.”