Tonight on Animal Planet!
Tonight on Animal Planet!
With the virtual genocide of elephants and rhinos, more celebrities are speaking out. Will their clout help turn the tides? As we approach the international march for global awareness (Oct 4), we take a moment to thank all the celebs who are speaking out!
China – the mere mention of the country sets animal lovers on edge. It’s no secret they bear a huge responsibility for the demand of horn and ivory, paving the destruction of rhinos and elephants, among other animals.
But there is reason to hope. The animal welfare movement is alive and well in China. The younger generation is aware, and becoming less tolerant of cruelty toward animals. With increasing attention from social media, animal protection issues are pushing to the public forefront.
The past couple of years, Chinese animal welfare advocates have
* banned the U.S. rodeo from entering Beijing
*demonstrated against the import of seal parts from Canada *
*ended barbaric live animal feeding in zoos
*prevented the construction of a foie gras factory
*rescued thousands of dogs and cats from the meat trade
*made stricter terms on harming endangered species(anyone who eats endangered species, or buys them for other purposes, is punishable by up to 10 years in jail)
In addition China is home to 50 million vegetarians and vegans, according to Peta.
The New York Times reports that revulsion at animal abuse is growing, and citizens have been taking matters into their own hands, rescuing dogs and cats from slaughter, and banding together to lobby government for animal protection laws.
China has some laws protecting endangered species of wild animals, but no protection for other animals within the country.
A proposed draft of China’s first comprehensive animal welfare law, the China Animal Protection Law, was issued in September 2009, according to Xinhua, the state news agency. It has yet to become law.
According to Animals Asia, “After more than 20 years working in China, we know how fast things can change – and we know already from working with various government departments in Beijing and Sichuan Province, that there is definitely a growing recognition and sympathy towards the issue of animal welfare generally which did not exist 10 years ago.”
No doubt that social media and celebrity endorsements are helping the movement along. Jackie Chan, Yao Ming, and pop singer Yu Kewei, artist Ai Weiwei, and actress Sun Li are actively campaigning against bear bile farms, rhino horn and elephant tusk use, and other endangered species slaughter.
China has lagged behind the most progressive nations in animal protection legislation for more than 180 years. But their time is coming. Realistically it has been and will continue to be slow, as younger generations push back against the older generation, more set in their ways.
As a Korean animal rights activist Sung Su Kim puts it:
“Culture has often been used as an excuse to turn away from suffering, and people in both Asia and the West often use cultural relativism to soothe their conscience for doing nothing”.
“Surely we want to regard various practices in our history (such as slavery and cannibalism) as something to be rid of rather than treat them as ‘culture’ and demand respect accordingly.”
The Killing Will Too!!!
It is all too easy to get lost in frustration and despair in the war for rhinos. Each life means so much, and each death weighs heavy in the heart, BUT each victory is just as significant.
My gift to all of you this holiday season: HOPE.
#1-Thanks to programs that transform poachers to rangers like what AfricanParks has done in the Congo, minds are changing. (see: Second Chances: Success in the Congo)
#2-Community incentives that give people a reason to be invested in their own wildlife and rewarded for that investment, like in Zimbabwe (see: Zimbabwe Leads the Way)
#3-Zoos have a new role in conservation, through in-depth scientific analysis (of rhino dung) they have learned more successful methods of breeding rhinos including use of artificial insemination. (see: Rhino Dung Research)
#4-There is a plethora of technology being integrated into the war on poaching (drones, microchips, poison injections into the horn,etc.)
#5-Awareness is spreading! The elephant poaching billboard in times square was a huge endeavor (see: The Elephant in Times Square). Ad campaigns in China and Vietnam, and education in Africa are helping. There has also been increased celebrity involvement (Leonardo Dicaprio, Prince William, Yao Ming, Jackie Chan,etc. )
#6-The US is increasing involvement in wildlife trafficking with President Obama taking a stand, pledging funds to anti-poaching efforts in Africa and creating the anti-poaching Task Force.
#7-There is now military involvement in Kenya from the British paratroopers, helping to train rangers. (see: British Paratroopers Train..)
#8-South Africa has stepped up military involvement in the parks. (see: War on Poachers Intensifies)
#9-All of the people on the ground who work tirelessly from the rangers at the parks working to protect the rhino, to the the Rhino Orphanage and other groups who rehabilitate the orphans after a poaching, to the veterinary staff and the behind the scenes organizations who work to fund all of it.
With numbers as low as 50 left in the wild in the early 1900s, the southern white rhino has now increased to over 20,000 and has become the most populous of all the rhino species.
Large-scale poaching of the now critically endangered black rhino resulted in a dramatic 96% decline from 65,000 individuals in 1970 to just 2,300 in 1993. Thanks to the persistent efforts of conservation programs across Africa black rhino numbers have risen since the early 1990s to a current population of 5,055.
We CAN do this.
Dr William Fowlds, DVM in South Africa is seeing a difference.
“ The international momentum against wildlife trafficking is starting to rattle some sabers. I can’t say the same for our corrupt systems and poor political competence. However, there is a groundswell of positives even in SA and we have to simply keep going. If we put ourselves on the line, we will turn this tragedy around.”
So please don’t give up! Fight for them!
You can join the fight and help greatly by donating to Fight for Rhinos.
Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence. ~Lin Yutang
At 7ft, 6 in tall, Yao Ming is an intimidating figure, the tallest player in the NBA during his former career with the Houston Rockets. But this gentle giant is spending his time nowadays educating people on the crisis of elephant and rhino poaching.
As a goodwill ambassador to WildAid, he recently teamed up with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). They are launching a major public awareness campaign targeting the consumption of rhino horn and ivory, in China. With public service announcements stating “When the buying stops, the killing can too.”
According to WildAid.Org, in 2012 a Chinese research company did a study on elephant poaching finding that:
A similar survey was also done on rhino poaching:
Being an animal lover and inspired by Jackie Chan, the Chinese basketball sensation has made raising awareness a top priority. He is a goodwill ambassador and a promising connection between the poaching crisis of Africa and the demand of the Chinese people.
According to Ming, “The most effective thing you can do to counter this kind of situation is raise people’s awareness. Eliminate the demand for rhino horn and ivory right at the source. That’s what I want to do. It might take some time, sure, but I’m really hoping that gradually we can start to see an improvement.”
“Poaching threatens livelihoods, education, and development in parts of Africa due to the insecurity it brings and loss of tourism revenue. No one who sees the results firsthand, as I did, would buy ivory or rhino horn. I believe when people in China know what’s happening they will do the right thing and say no to these products.”
Ming’s previous campaign to educate the Chinese on the demand of shark fins, is credited with a reduction of 50 – 70% in consumption of shark fin in China in 2012. We can only hope his current drive to eliminate the demand for horn and tusk is just as effective.