Adorable, valuable, and illegal

FINAL-Article 1-Pic 1-Illicit animal trade

Combating the illicit trade of animals and animal products
In today’s age, where it is hard to go through a whole week without at least one news source reporting on the growing endangerment of an exotic animal, it isn’t uncommon for many to know of the impending threat that the animals of our world face.

From deforestation of their habitats to the ever-growing cloud of pollution due to environmental issues as these, populations of species such as the Bengal tigers and the forest gorillas are growing smaller by the day.

But when it comes to the reasons as to why these creatures are dying out, it isn’t hard to come to the conclusion that we, as the human race, are ultimately responsible. After all, which other species on Earth has an industry centered on selling rhino horns at a price of higher worth than gold. Rhino horns in question have become so valuable and coveted, that the hunt for the horn has driven all five of our worlds’ species of rhinos to the brink of endangerment, with the Javan Rhinoceros in particular now having a population of only 40. Reasons for these raids on horns range from their unproven “healing properties” to their beautiful appearance. In hindsight, a rhino horn would probably seem more appealing on the rhino than on a wooden mantelpiece to gawk at.

Such hunting practices that lead to such high numbers of near-extinction are now predominantly illegal around the world, but that of course does not stop hunters and poachers from preying on animals that are now becoming more rare with each horn that is sawn off. Organizations dedicated to preventing these horrors such as CITES and the World Wildlife Fund have been around for decades, inspiring and informing others of the threats of endangerment to various animal species and what we can do to stop it.

An example of how the word of protecting animals around the world has spread was recently reported when the permit to hunt and kill the endangered Black Rhino in Namibia was sold at an auction in the United States. Despite the Dallas Safari Club’s claims that the permit would help in funding future conservation, the event was clearly not accepted by most, as over 80,000 people took to signing online petitions which went against the auction.

However, if these organizations will actually help in saving these fellow species of our world still remains a mystery.

By: Sara Sarwar
Photo by: Aya Ibrahim