A Scary Reality

A Scary Reality

– Vanina Harel 

We are now well into this war against rhino poaching, and it is a tough challenge to tackle. The poachers we are up against are professionals. They are highly organized criminal syndicates recently proven to be linked to terrorist groups. They are so ahead of us due to their complex system, advanced technology, and expertise that it seems all we can do is try to catch up as best we can.

IMG_7818Unfortunately there are weaknesses in the South African legal system and some officials may have been tempted by corruption. Moreover, the Constitution seems to make it very difficult to combat criminals. In other words, the work of anti-poaching units is not protected by the law. An anti-poacher shooting a poacher on a crime scene is sent to jail, and it takes high-level advocates and big sums of money to prove that he was only doing his job, and defending his own life.  The poachers out there are fearless experts; they live in the bush and will not hesitate to shoot. The sad part is that many of these poachers are people who find in poaching a last chance of having a life and putting food on the table for their families. Many of them find themselves under the poverty line, unemployed and uneducated. For these people, poaching is a low risk activity for a very high reward. And this loops back to the legal problems of the lack of appropriate sanctions for wildlife poaching.

The problem of wildlife poaching is particularly critical for the rhino today. Nevertheless, it has been happening with many species all over the world for decades now. Humans are like viruses. They attack every species they can get money from and deplete the environment until there is nothing left. By then, they will have already mutated and gone for another one. We cannot let living species of our world become commodities. The number of snakes, spiders, butterflies that are shipped out of Africa illegally every year is unacceptable. And what does the government do about it? Not enough. In the shipping of 300 African snakes to the US for instance, about 10 might survive the journey, and probably only 1 to 3 will eventually make it to the final buyer.

Governments need to react through stricter regulations and better investigations. Illegal wildlife poaching of any sort is having a critical impact on our ecosystems and our environment is something we need to preserve. We can start with rhinos. Once the anti-poaching systems are on top of the situation and the natural parks are under high security, it will have a positive rebound effect on other types of wildlife poaching.

We live in a difficult world today and I often find it hard to understand why people would kill animals, and sometimes butcher our rhinos without even killing them. It is sickening to see those rhinos with their faces hacked off, left to die in a slow agony. There are not enough words in the human language to qualify the atrocities that some people inflict on these animals. It is a reality that provokes a mixture of feelings in me. In the fraction of a second I can switch from being upset to angry, or sad and disillusioned, to ready to fight. I don’t want to be part of the generation that killed the rhinos and I will fight against it. Because if we do not act now, it is not only the rhinos that we will lose, but also all of the world’s species are slowly going to be devoured by man’s greed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *