Little Chance for the World's Creatures: Please Read This Hub and ACT!!!
Imaginative Man Thinks of Many Ways to Abuse WildlifeClick thumbnail to view full-size
Profits Rival Drug Smuggling
The world needs an immediate ban on owning any animal, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, arachnids and some fish, captured in the wild.
This would include the most lowly of creatures, from spiders, tarantulas, frogs, toads, tortoise and turtles and snakes, to the so called higher animals, such as the members of the cat family, birds of prey, such as eagles and owls and our near brothers, the apes, chimps, orang outans and monkeys. You can fill the rest in…start with the marine mammals and fish.
Because this horrendous trafficking of species, especially from and to Asia, must be stopped before there are no creatures left for us to wonder at and admire. As well as catching and selling live creatures, many are being caught and their parts, etc., being sold to make medicines for mindless idiots in China and some other countries.
It’s no use North Americans and Europeans getting on their high horse and blaming those who trap the creatures, or the dealers who send them round the world, in the Philippines, Singapore, Malaya and India, etc., unless they take the extremely lucrative market away from them, as was attempted with some success in the ivory trade. You only have to compare this with the war on drugs. It can never be won while marijuana, cocaine, heroin and the exotic spin-offs fetch such as high price on the streets of London, New York, Los Angeles and all the rest. All the efforts by officials in Mexico and the other source and transit countries are not only doomed to failure, they actually increase the going rate of the substances and make breaking the law to produce and ship them more and more attractive.
When a fancier in the US will pay $1000 and up for a small, rare lizard, which cost nothing to trap and not a lot to ship, this trade will flourish causing untold misery to our fellow creatures on the planet.
We are told the tigers will be no more in a few years, the shrinking habitat is generally blamed, but do you also realize the last tigers are being slaughtered for the black market: collectors want tiger-skin rugs and the heads on their walls; exotic restaurants blatantly advertising tiger meat on the menu; and our good old pals, the Chinese, coveting their bones for health cures, including tiger-bone wine! Their penises are said to be aphrodisiacs. Some animal parks in Asia have been found to be a front for this trade as an adult tiger, dead, is worth up to $20,000, but it costs $5,000 a year to feed.
To give you an idea how much critically threatened species fetch, the black-market price for the Spix’s Macaw was $100,000 a few years ago: in 2010, they are thought to be extinct in the wild. (see my hub Extinct!).
Some top animal traders can give exporters a list including dozens of creatures protected against being taken. One, Wong Keng Liang (known as Anson to officials everywhere), is said to be protected at the highest level by Malayan Government ministers. He was captured in a clever sting operation in the late 90’s and served a few years in prison, but is now back (his wife carried on the business while he was confined).
Any journalist looking into this disgusting exploitation of wild creatures soon realises how difficult it will ever be to stop. As long as the market flourishes, those who capture just about every wild animal in South East Asia will continue to supply the ready market world-wide. I saw a film about rhinoceroses in Africa recently. Their magnificent horns had been cut down to mere nubs. The park keepers explained they hated to have to do it, but this was the only thing that stopped them being poached to send the valuable horn to China. Park rangers have had to arm themselves like defending armies and still the poachers get through and exterminate species. The only creatures that flourish are the vultures who feast on the piles of rotting meat and hides after the tusks and other requisites for folk medicine have been removed.
Even when an animal is not killed outright there are many cases, such as that of the Asiatic Black Bear, where the creature is staked out on the floor like Christ on the cross, and its valuable bile extracted for quack medicines. Done in Vietnam, the process is highly illegal, but like moonshine stills in the old wild west of the USA, you have to find the perpetrators to take action. There is little will to do this, much corruption and, even when caught, the crooks end up with a slap on the wrist, a fine or a few months in jail, whereupon they are back in business again.
A huge part of the problem is the poverty in the areas where creatures still can be found. And the fact that many cultures don’t care about wild creatures and don’t see them as having any right to life.
Evading customs has demanded scams as intricate as those used by cocaine smugglers. Lizards and snakes are popular to send as they are small and can demand high prices and have a low metabolism so they can be bound and secreted under or within other cargo, often in quasi-legal imports.
Many exotic parrots and macaws have found their way into the US through Mexico, smuggled over the border. There was one story of a smuggler who had 20 anesthetized parrots in the trunk of his car. He took so long clearing the border in Tijuana that they began to wake up, chirrup and squawk. Officials were alerted when the stressed driver couldn’t answer a straight question without also squawking and whistling himself to try and cover up the noise the birds were making.
Tales like these make the movie “Snakes on a Plane” not so far fetched as it might have been, for sure, many times the cargo would have included reptiles in a comatose state. A wide awake Taipan, Mamba or King Cobra, able to escape, could cause mayhem.
But the laughs are few among special operatives of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, responsible for the sting which caught Anson only to see the wealthy and connected dealer back in operation after less than one year. Why the courts are so backward in defending animal rights and handing out real sentences to the few perpetrators who are caught is beyond this journalist. No doubt politics play a great part; there is no room in prisons for the crooks who commit serious crimes against society, never mind - in the judges eye - those who catch a few reptiles to sell. After all, aren’t many animals legally persecuted by man for food?
But when you see that more than 13 BILLION live creatures and their parts were LEGALLY exported from SE Asia between 2000 and 2007, you can imagine the amount might have risen to nearly 20 billion were all the illegal exports considered as well.
We are deluding ourselves if we think more than a dent can be put into this distressing situation: like the war on drugs, there can be no victory. As always, big money has its way no matter what the field of endeavour. Mankind has made an irredeemable mess of the planet by 2010 and now we will all have to pay the price.