One of the most rugged creatures on the planet looking almost jovial with a slight smirk as he surveys his watering hole. This Rhino is a resident of the Denver Zoo. Say what you will about zoos, but I think they are better than the alternative. It’s a opportunity for saving Africa’s wildlife. Sadly, we may soon live in a world where Rhinoceroses and other African wildlife are extinct in the wild. Zoos may be the only hope for these magnificent creatures passing on their genes to another generation.
The Poaching Problem
Poaching in Africa is terrible and wrong, but try to put yourself in the poacher’s shoes. For many if not most poachers, they are risking their lives in an attempt to put food on their family’s plates. In a lot of places in Africa, where poaching is at its worst, poverty is rampant. Places like China pay top dollar for ivory because of its supposed medicinal purposes. So, killing animals becomes a way out of poverty.
Saving Africa’s Wildlife
You want to fix the extinction problem? Want to try saving Africa’s wildlife? We have to stop the ivory trade, but we also have to lift a continent out of poverty. No easy feat. We also have to educate ourselves about the real issues. Hunters who go to Africa to hunt big game are not the cause of the extinction of these great creatures. Game parks in Africa employee people and bring in big money for each animal that is tagged. The meat isn’t wasted, but is given to the local population as food. The park in turn protects the local animal population and insures it is healthy and protected from poaching, because the animals are their income base. I am not a hunter myself, I shoot with a lens, but I went to a game park in Zimbabwe many years ago and I am more educated and better off because of that experience.
Educating the populace of Africa on the benefits of saving their indigenous wildlife has its merits, but ultimately if the option is watching your family starve to death or killing an animal, well… which would you choose?