Rhino and elephant poaching receives US boost

Conservationists and animal activists worldwide are rejoicing the official ‘threat status’ given to rhino and elephant horn poaching.  This follows on the announcement made by the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, that the US Intelligence  Community recognises poaching as an international security threat and ordered for the official tracking of poachers.  Poachers heavily armed with automatic weapons and operating with air traffic, has raised the international risks involved to the extent that the US now intends to take action on these international crimes.  With the recent announcements made, Hillary Clinton noted that the US is one of the greatest markets for trafficked goods.  Markets, as the root of wildlife trafficking, could not be ignored.  Is the aim of her department, to spread the ethic: buying trafficked goods are socially unacceptable.  The US intelligence agencies received further orders to assess the impact of wildlife tracking on US security matters.

The US Intelligence Community’s intended focus area is Asia and Africa.  A country such as Tanzania loses around 10,000 elephants per year due to poaching.  South Africa in particular has been hit by a rhino poaching endemic , killing 1,500 threatened rhinos since 2008.  In 2012 alone, a total of 458 rhinos were killed – the highest number of yearly rhino killings for the country to date.  Despite vigorous attempts from animal activists, conservationists and the country’s security systems, South Africa’s rhino poaching tally continues to increase drastically.  Sadly and to the frustration of many, the entire illegal trade market is based on Asian medicinal myths.  Conservationists and activities worldwide urgently dissuades: rhino horns have no medicinal value.

Wildlife trafficking is reaching an ‘out-of-control’ state, particularly in Asia and Africa.  The need for new combatting strategies and measures, as never applied before, is clear.  Assistance from the US in establishing a global coalition against poaching and illegal trade will also bring much-needed discussions between world leaders – it is after all a global struggle.

Photo credits: some rights reserved by doug.kukurudza and johnmuk via flickr

Sources: TheGuardian, The New York Times: The Opinion Pages and The Calgary Herald

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