Poaching: hunting and Michael J. Essay
Poaching: hunting and Michael J.
Poaching, as defined by Webster, is the illegal practice of trespassing on another’s property to hunt or steal game without the landowner’s permission. Today, that definition seems slightly vague as the nature of poaching has changed drastically in recent years. Poaching is an ever growing epidemic that plagues every continent of this world. Animals of every type are pursued for a variety of economic reasons despite the ecological consequences associated with disrupting the natural order of life in the animal kingdom.
While efforts taken to stop illegal hunting are noteworthy, these efforts seem futile as those who pursue the poachers are frequently outmanned and outgunned. Many environmental extremists view poachers as lawless criminals who, some believe, should be shot at the first hint of aggression towards animals or trespass in protected areas. In fact, most of the poachers are poor villagers who harvest bush-meat (meat obtained from the illegal hunting of rare animals) in order to make a living and support their families.
The reason there are so many poachers hunting rare animals is that high society will often pay three to four times more for the delicacy of rare meat than they would pay for regular pork or beef (Turner, Fred. ). With such a profit to be made, few realize the harm that is actually being done. When caught in the act, many poachers are so desperate to protect their livelihood that they will often fire upon and flee law enforcement agencies. Bush-meat is not the only resource taken by the poachers.
In fact, next to drugs, weapons and diamonds, reptiles are the fourth most traded illegal item. Exotic reptiles are frequently captured for the pet trade (Huxley, Julian. ). Elephants and gorillas are also prime targets for poachers. The ivory that poachers can obtain from the tusks of elephants are sold at a very high price due to the fact that the only ivory that is technically legal is that taken from the tusks of woolly mammoths which have been extinct for hundreds of thousands of years (Fay, Michael J.).
From the gorillas, many poachers take their young for meat, fur and even for the illegal pet trade. With the mass hunting of all of these rare and exotic animals, the future of many species appears bleak, along with the wildlife as a whole in Africa. Though methods have been implemented to eradicate poaching, the illegal hunting of animals continues to rise as the amount of wildlife decreases. Throughout the African Republic, to the edge of Congo, there use to roam some 300,000 elephants in the 1970’s.
Today, thanks to the efforts of humans, less than 10,000 elephants now roam this area. In a smaller perspective, in 1985, before poaching laws were put into legislature, 4,308 live elephants were counted in Zakouma, Chad, compared to the 7,861 found dead. In 2006, conversationist J. Michael Fay counted 3,020 elephants in Zakouma, nearly 900 less than the previous year (Fay, Michael J. ). Shockingly, Zakouma is a refuge site for wildlife under armed protection and still, these large decreases in wildlife are being observed.
Many noteworthy attempts at conserving the wildlife in Africa are seen year round; however, the conservationists are simply unable to keep up with the poachers who both outman and outgun them. In the 1980’s, a bill was passed which established organizations which would attempt to control the poaching problem. Despite the growing awareness this piece of legislature brought to the topic, both government and private installations established to protect the wildlife suffer from a lack of funding which affects the amount of security they can provide the animals.
Even though the wildlife may reside in a protected park, poachers still wander in (trespass) and hunt the few remaining species (Fay, Michael J. ). During the dry season, the animals actually come to them. As the lands begin to bake under the hot African sun, much of the wildlife leaves the park in search of better foliage (“Serengeti Patrols Cut Poaching of Buffalo, Elephants, Rhinos. “). Once outside the park’s protective boundaries, they are prime targets for the wandering hunters. Poachers aren’t the only problem that the wildlife is faced with.
Civil War plays a large role in the destruction of Africa’s wildlife as it destroys the habitat of the numerous animals and even directly kills the animals themselves (Fay, Michael J. ). In conclusion, Animals of every type are pursued for economic gain in several countries despite the ecological consequences and the fact that many species are nearing extinction. While efforts taken to stop illegal hunting are noteworthy, these efforts are having minimal impact on poaching practices. Despite the risk of death and imprisonment, many poor poachers are desperate enough to risk everything for a little bit of nothing.
In affect, the illegal hunting of animals seems to be an incurable epidemic and will only come to its culmination when the animals which the poachers hunt cease to exist.
Works citied Fay, Michael J. “Ivory Wars: Last Stand in Zakouma. ” National Geographic Mar. 2007: 34-77. Huxley, Julian. “The Shocking Slaughter of Africa’s Wildlife – Poaching. ” UNESCO Courier June 1986. “Serengeti Patrols Cut Poaching of Buffalo, Elephants, Rhinos. ” The Science Daily 27 Nov. 2006. Turner, Fred. “Africa’s Deadliest Conservationist. ” National Geographic Feb. 2002.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 19 May 2017
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