Many of us are mourning Cecil the Lion today and I’m one of them. I’m not angry like some people. Mostly I’m just sad.
Being from Texas, I’ve heard the reasons hunting can be beneficial – culling the herd, for example. But this wasn’t culling. This was poaching.
Unfortunately, Cecil’s killing isn’t an isolated event. Poaching in Africa is a serious problem. From elephants to rhinos, and lions – all of these animals are being hunted – for profit.
Conservationists Are Losing The Battle
There are only four Northern White rhinos left in the world. Their extinction is pretty much a done deal. Rhinos are poached for their horns, which are then sent to Asia and used for medicinal purposes.
I don’t get it. Rhino horn consists of the same material as human fingernails. I’m not sure what kind of medicinal benefit anyone can get from nails, but I’d be more than happy to send my fingernail clippings to Asia – if only that would help.
When we visited Uganda recently, we stopped at a rhino sanctuary. The animals are so threatened that armed guards stay with them twenty-four hours a day. Any unguarded rhino is in danger – even ones in sanctuaries.
The Reason For Poaching
As long as poaching is lucrative, and as long as African people are desperate for money and don’t have resources to earn it legitimately, poaching will continue. I’ve read sources that say one rhino horn can garner as much as $35,000! Even “licensed” hunts won’t stop because lots of money is involved. I don’t know how this problem will end. I just hope it does before there are no animals left in the wild.