Africa’s Endangered Wildlife
Africa's wildlife is fascinating and very versatile. Unfortunately, this uniqueness is increasingly threatened by poachers. Often tightly and almost militarily organized they pester wild animals in order to kill them in an irresponsible and criminal way. Some photos of typical poacher-weapons and poacher-traps are shown here. The trophies captured in such a gruesome way- be it horns, teeth or pelts and skins - are illegal, increasingly marketed with the help of mafia-like organizations. Thus, huge sums are earned on the black market.
So for example, the black rhino is strongly hunted because of the horns, which have - not proven though – a cancer healing ability or aphrodisiac effect in addition to the high trophy value in some countries and is therefore in danger of extinction. Also the still coveted ivory continues to bring the elephants not only in Africa time and again to the brink of extinction.
Ivory Has Unfortunately Become a Status Symbol Once More
In many African countries rethinking has taken place, but unfortunately the often limited means of wildlife protection is up against modern weapons and equipment as well as sophisticated smuggling routes of the organized poacher.
Although the wildlife protection now receives support by the African Governments in the form of money, personnel and better equipment - even military and drones are employed in the fight against poaching and the penalties for poaching is extremely compounded-, however the attacks increase rapidly. Because the trade in horns, ivory and fur has also become a business for rebel groups.
According to the animal welfare organization Traffic, for example, the illegal ivory trade is at its highest level since 1970. In 2011 over 40 tons of the white gold were seized, 2012 there should have been even more.
And the numbers increase. 2012 was a sad record year: around 633 rhinos in South Africa and more than 10,000 elephants in Africa alone were victim to poachers, not to mention other game species. Also the lion now belongs to the inhabitants of the African steppes that have become rare, because the lion hunt is in some states still legal and thus often uncontrolled.
Thailand, China and Vietnam are the most important markets in illegal wildlife trade. Crushed Rhinoceros powder brings roughly 50,000 euros per kilo on the Asian market. But also by the emergence of new middle and upper classes in this rising economic regions, the desire for increasing exclusivity - ivory, lion's skin and other hunting trophies have become a status symbol, unfortunately all the more, the rarer the species is.
Progressive depletion in the original habitats of the animals then usually settles the rest, as is the case for the Ugandan mountain gorillas, which were reduced by hunting and deforestation of forests to two small populations.
Poaching has nothing in common with hunting. Poachers are solely concerned with catching an animal for the purposes of its marketing and to kill it. How this happens, especially if this meets the animal welfare does not matter to poachers at all. Any regard for the animals is missing. Nothing can make this clearer than the poacher trap shown below.
Here, the poached animal first steps through the loop and the underlying metal plate in a hole. The barbs of the plate then prevent that the animals can slip off the metal plate and the overlying sling. With the attempt to free themselves from the metal plate and the overlying sling, the animal pulls the sling tighter and tighter together.
With some wild animals, including the zebras, the survival instinct is so strong that you can repeatedly watch self-mutilation as a means of liberation from such poaching traps.