Illegal poaching is an international problem. This crime has led to the decimation of countless populations of wild animals, who are targeted by ruthless criminals eager to exploit the superstitions of the ignorant and the greed of the one percent.
The inhuman carnage caused by these criminals was illustrated perfectly recently, when Inside Edition, posted a video of an elephant in Zimbabwe, who had been shot in the head by poachers.
Luckily, the animal survived, and this story has a happy ending. You are going to be amazed by this video.
An adult male African elephant recently approached game stewards in a national park in Zimbabwe. The animal had been shot in the head with a high powered hunting rifle, the bullet missing his brain by mere centimeters.
The elephant was able to walk until it found game stewards, who were able to sedate him and render veterinary aid. After performing an x-ray scan to find it, they successfully removed the bullet and saved the elephant’s life.
The team that helped him has named him “Pretty Boy.’ after recovering from the sedative, the animal rose to his feet and walked a short distance before falling asleep leaning against a tree. He is expected to make a full recovery.
Illegal poaching is driven by a multi billion dollar market, mostly in Asia, where the ill-informed pay top prices for animal parts to be used as medicinals, and by wealthy “collectors” who seek to counterman international laws concerning contraband.
As elephants are both highly social animals and are considered to be such great economic value, they are targeted by poachers, who will kill them by the herd. Often, once the animals are dead, the poachers will only remove the ivory tusks, leaving the poor creatures to rot.
Many African countries have been working with international law enforcement and conservation groups for over 20 years to put an end to this barbaric trade, but the odds are stacked against them.
While game wardens are among the bravest of people, struggling against wild animals, mother nature, and armed thugs, they are frequently outgunned and outmanned.
The monies received to support conservation efforts is a drop in the bucket compared to what wealthy “collectors” are willing to pay for artifacts from rare and endangered animals.
Elephants are not the only targets either, and they do surprisingly well when compared with other species.
The African Black Rhino is so endangered, that a single male specimen is known to exist and only a few females are left. With such a complex organism as a rhino, this all but ensures that he will be the last of his kind.
Tigers are also hunted for the far eastern “medicine” trade. Parts of the tiger’s body are incorrectly believed to cure everything from impotence to cancer. Other animals, like the Asian Snow Leopard and orangutan are captured for the exotic pet trade, but very few ever make it.
Conservationists and national and international law enforcement are fighting a losing battle to keep our planet’s rich biodiversity alive.
Can you imagine telling your children and grandchildren about what a black rhino or elephant was? Can you think of anything conservation and law enforcement can do to improve their chances? Share your ideas with us here.