Posts Tagged With: illegal wildlife trade

When Cats and Dogs Aren’t Enough

 

This is Little Mo. She was just a few months old when poachers killed her mother and stole her from the wild. These ruthless wildlife traffickers wanted Born Free Foundationto sell the cheetah cub as a ‘pet’ in Somaliland, East Africa.

Mo is one of millions of countless big cats, and other endangered animals who are part of the exotic pet trade.

US Exotic Pets

The illegal trade is a $15 billion dollar business in the United States alone, with breeders and dealers selling animals over the Internet or in trade magazines. It is estimated that approximately 20,000 exotics live in “backyards” all across the US.

While some exotic pets have been bred in captivity, many are plucked directly from their natural habitats. The stress of being violently removed from their homes causes some animals to die before they ever reach a private residence.

pet tiger

Amazingly, the Endangered Species Act does not prohibit domestic trade in captive-bred wildlife. A grave oversight, considering that although tigers are endangered, more tigers reside in private residences in Texas, than in all the wild.

People purchasing these animals believe them to be cute and manageable until of course they grow, their wild instincts still intact, and become uncontrollable.  In 2013, there have been 1,969 incidents (anything from quarantine violations to deaths of animals and/or people) in the US alone.

Middle Eastern Trend

Of course this is not just problematic in the US. Big cat pets in the Gulf region is a growing trend. It is seen as a status symbol. Yemen is becoming the hub for this lucrative trade in the Arabian world. Although the numbers are not available, it is believed this is the reason for the dent in the wild cheetah populations in Somalia.

man riding lion

Several clips have surfaced on the Internet showing the absurdity and ignorance of owning these big cats; i.e. a  riding a lion and a group of men with a leashed cheetah.

Worldwide Smuggling

Authorities around the world suspect they’re intercepting under 10% of all wildlife smuggling, with many saying it’s actually only 1%.

african greys rescused

3 of 108 African Grays released into the wild after a failed smuggling attempt in Bulgaria.

The vast size of most wilderness areas and the limited number of enforcement officers virtually guarantee poachers and smugglers free access. The only way to get a definite conviction is to catch them in the act.

otters

11 otters found alive in unclaimed baggage in Bangkok.

Although smuggling of endangered species is an international violation of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), the penalties are stipulated by individual countries and vary greatly. CITES protection does not apply to exotic animals who are born in captivity.

Root of the Problem

As with rhino and elephant poaching, the root of the issue is to stop the demand. So it is with exotic pet ownership.

*Do not purchase endangered species.

*Do not patronize circuses and roadside zoos who use or showcase exotic animals.

Please read and sign the petition to : Ban exotic pet ownership in the US

Born Free FoundationWhat happened to Mo the cheetah?

She was rescued by the Born Free Foundation. She’s living the good life, with a spacious area and her medical and nutritional needs cared for.

After slowly introducing her to other cheetahs, she is happily living as part of a new family unit.

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Rhino Horn Cures Asians, But What Cures Ignorance

horn not medicine 1

We’ve seen advertisements and pleas targeting Asian communities to stop using rhino horn.   Famed Chinese NBA player, Yao Ming and Chinese stuntman and actor, Jackie Chan have used their star power to bring awareness to the plight of the rhino in China.

WWF and TRAFFIC are sponsoring adverts being displayed through many different communication channels, including newspapers, television, and social media platforms like Facebook. They have placements in hundreds of offices and residential buildings, airports, corporate offices and universities throughout Vietnam.

But how well is it working? Is anyone out there paying attention?

           China

Journalist Craig Simons who lived in Beijing for eight years wrote about his time there in “The Devouring Dragon”.  Simons says “N.G.O.s (non-government organizations)  have had a limited ability to influence the decisions of average Chinese consumers. Advertisements have been successful but their benefits are offset by millions of Chinese just now becoming rich enough to buy exotic ingredients and medicines.”

He claims the campaigns may ultimately prove more important by putting pressure on the government. “A government ban is more efficient than trying to get 1.3 billion people to change deep-rooted beliefs and traditions, but both are key in the long term.”

jackie with rhino

Jackie Chan with rhino

Vietnam

According to Do Quang Tung, the Vietnam director of CITES  (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), “Demand for rhino horn in Vietnam has already declined thanks to government’s efforts in raising public awareness and preventing smuggling operations.”

South Africa and Vietnam governments  have signed  a memorandum of understanding on increasing cooperation to prevent smuggling of horns throughout the countries, but a representative from the Vietnam Customs General Department said “Vietnam faces challenges in preventing rhino horn smuggling because of the differences in the laws of the two countries.”

obvious rhino

Cures & Status

Using rhino horn for medicinal “cures” has been going on in China since the 16th century AD. An obvious cultural difference that’s hard to understand when you consider how far western medicine has come. (In the 16th century in Europe, patients who had contracted the bubonic plague were told to perform penance and anesthetic was made from a concoction of lettuce juice and vinegar.)

Yet the place of traditional Chinese medicine has a stronghold on much of the population. So how can truth (via education) overcome tradition?

Perhaps more of an uphill battle is rhino horn being viewed as a symbol of social status. Just as with furs, it’s becoming a mark of affluence in the Vietnamese community.

So how do you combat ego?

Since the beliefs in the power of the horn are based on untruths, and Asian horn-users seem to readily believe the tales as fact, perhaps the answer is to tell equally potent lies. Maybe the truth isn’t what will set the rhino free..

My fellow blogger Fred Clark knows this-
Mayo Study: Rhino-horn extract killed Michael Jackson

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Tragedy in Nairobi Park

nairobi nat park sign

With rhino being slaughtered at a unsustainable rate of 2 a day-everyday, poaching is the biggest threat to wildlife in Africa. Although the murder of a rhino is always tragic, sometimes something happens that makes it even more dreadful.   Continue reading

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Prince William: Poaching Gets Attention from the Royals

Prince William has been throwing his royal weight behind endangered species. He’s pleading with the public to put an end to illegal trade. He has warned that his generation will be the first to regard elephants, rhinos and tigers as “historical creatures in the same category as the dodo”.

Taking part in The End WIldlife Crime Conference, which consisted of conservationists and politicians, he emphasized to the group the seriousness of international illegal trade. They discussed ways to tackle smuggling, and worked to generate ideas to be discussed at a future meeting this autumn.  The autumn meeting will be attended by heads of state from across the world.

Grant Miller, of the UK Border Force, said that in the past year more than 675 items had been seized, including a Rolls Royce with alligator skin upholstery, 1.6 tonnes of tortoise jelly, books bound in elephant hide, phials of bear bile used in traditional medicines, a bottle of whiskey containing a whole snake and numerous rhino horns concealed in china dolls  and a live Geoffroy’s Cat.

Prince WIlliam is the royal patron of the wildlife charity, The Tusk Trust. He , just as his father, seems invested in the future of the world’s wildlife. Will his influence be able to help save the rhinos, tigers and elephants to share with his son?

prince william with rhino

Prince William feeds a five-year-old black rhino called Zawadi during a visit to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kentearlier He has called people involved in the illegal trade of rhino horn ‘extremely ignorant, selfish and utterly wrong.

Categories: Making a Difference, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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