Charity Begins at Home
by Amy Lignor
Turning a blind eye is easy for some; preferred by others. But the fact is that the bad doesn’t become good – in any area – unless eyes are open wide to not only see what’s occurring, but also to gain the knowledge needed to stop the bad from getting even worse. Remarks are made about “other countries” and what they do wrong when it comes to the harming of animals for profit. However, in order to have this loathsome business, referred to as Wildlife Trafficking, continue, the ones erasing species from the face of the Earth must have customers. Like all business and industry, if no one is buying then there’s there no one to sell to. And whether it’s believed or not, the fact is that the United States is currently one of the largest markets in the entire world.
Yes, it’s true that we have many organizations that work their tails off trying to stop species from being killed. We have the EPA and people who act like true “law and order” when it comes to saving and maintaining the animals we love, especially in the U.S. However…wildlife trafficking continues to grow. Now a $10+ billion-a-year industry, there is a list of wildlife products that are highly illegal and highly desired by consumers in the United States. Endangered species provide jewelry, clothing, furniture, and ridiculous souvenirs absolutely no one needs, and although an overwhelming majority of Americans say this is detestable, many are unaware that the products they purchase are actually a large part of the problem.
Data was put together by the EPA and other independent organizations that showed an average of 80% of Americans have no awareness of the illegal wildlife trade happening in the U.S. Therefore, it’s about time to open the eyes and actually see what America is helping to grow.
We begin with the elephant. Only two species of elephants (Asian and African) even exist on this planet today, and they are necessary to their environment. Fact: One elephant is harmed every 15 minutes. Fact: Approximately 33,000 are murdered each year. The way things are going, in ten years elephants will be a thing of the past. How do we stop the rapid progression of kills? Stop the demand for ivory. And be very careful of people trying to pass it off as “antique” ivory, because nine times out of ten it is not.
Bengal tigers, white tigers – the wild tiger is absolutely stunning and the world would lose a true wonder if these animals keep losing their lives at the rapid rate they are right now. You don’t have to go back to the prehistoric age to a time when 100,000 tigers roamed this world. Yet now, the current numbers are estimated to be less than 3,200 (with half living in India.) Disgustingly enough, although China and other Asian countries are the principal market for the tiger’s bones, claws, whiskers, and other assorted parts utilized in traditional Asian medicines, America is a consumer as well. How does America get out of this game? Stop the demand for tiger skins. I can’t tell you how many carpets, flooring, rugs, home décor companies, etc., you have to choose from. You most certainly don’t need a murdered tiger on your floor to give the room panache.
The horror happening to the Rhino is actually quite well-known. There were five species and now all five are close to complete and final extinction. Habitat loss is one reason, yet the rhino horn being used in dumb souvenirs and, like the tiger, utilized in traditional Asian medicines, is also a huge threat to the stunning animal. Again, Asia is the largest market; however, rhino-related products have been confiscated in the U.S. during the last decade.
Out of the seven sea turtle species, six are endangered or threatened. International trade is prohibited by law. Does this work? Not at all. Even in America the demand for eggs and turtle shells (AKA: tortoiseshell) helps spawn a poacher’s desire to continue the killing.
Even at home, the American Black Bear is being hunted illegally each and every day. Wild bear populations around the world are becoming far smaller than they once were, because of farmers and hunters who help fill the demand for bear paws and other, even more disgusting parts of the beautiful creature.
Again, there are those out there working tirelessly, day and night to stop these crimes from happening. Yet it’s time to open everyone’s eyes wider than they’ve ever been opened before. Fact: As long as there is a demand, there will be a supply. Help STOP the demand!
(If you see anything even remotely odd when it comes to the illegal killing/trafficking of animals, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has a special TIPS line at: 1-844-397-8477.)
Source: Baret News