One of my NYRs was to stop reading bad news, but that lasted about 6 hours ….. there is of course so much of it, and so much that is utterly depressing. One of the first of 2014 was an article in “The Independent”:
Elephant Appeal: Few are willing to say just how bad the poaching
crisis is – the elephant population may easily fall into terminal decline
You can get all the details from the article – which is pretty harrowing, with surviving elephants described as being “stricken with grief” as they cluster round their slaughtered brethren – but basically, elephants in the Tsavo East National Park in Northern Kenya are under threat of extinction from poachers from Somalia. This provoked a number of reactions on my part:
The price of ivory depends on the demand and supply. The former is very strong and apparently rising, especially in China. For extraordinarily moronic and selfish reasons, ivory is considered artistic and – for example – tiger and rhinoceros parts medicinal and/or possessing aphrodysiac properties.
Can China really do NOTHING to stop this cultural abomination? People in the west for the most part stopped acquiring ivory years ago.
If China – and other Asia nations – cannot or will not do anything, should the west not apply more pressure? Same applies of course to China’s support of North Korea. YES, sanctions are painful, but nothing NON-painful is likely to work
They are execrable, of course …… and yet, many may be extremely poor, and indeed ignorant. There is no excuse in the strictest sense, but it may to some extent be understandable if they see a chance to make several years’ norrmal income in a single day. This is no different from City bankers, or indeed the Enron directors and many others: greed is sadly rampant on our planet.
There are insufficient funds to patrol the parks properly. Kenya is just one more corrupt African state where politicians earn a fortune while basic needs and services are severely underfunded.
So, there is a lack of funds to prevent the poacher-killers. Yet a few hundred miles away, vast sums of money are squandered on obscene luxuries.
I always wonder what if anything goes through the minds of those who spend these obscene sums on frippery and personal self-glorification. Do they ever think that their money could do immense good elsewhere? Would WE be just the same in their shoes?
Is there any solution to this greed?
See also: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/kenya/9788733/Horror-as-entire-family-of-elephants-slaughtered-for-ivory.html
AND this charity: http://www.bloodyivory.org/