Saturday, 19 October 2013

Perceptions of African ivory poaching

So I've seen a couple of newspaper articles recently arguing that poaching is on the rise in Africa with a disastrous impact on conservation efforts. Only a couple of months ago there was the case in Zimbabwe where elephants were targeted with poisoned watering holes and now Kenya are proposing to introduce micro-chipping to safeguard rhino's horns.

Hopefully this initiative will be successful and will help stop selfish individuals and businesses from slaughtering the beasts that benefit African economies far more effectively when preserved and kept in national parks.
I do find it a bit myopic though that every article about this trend focusses on the use of ivory in Chinese traditional medicine as the cause of poaching. Of course it is true that this is a cause of poaching and should not be allowed to threaten the existence of endangered species. However we don't feel a similar need to discuss the big game hunting Victorians or the chaos sparked by bungled decolonisation in every article about ivory poaching. A superficial analysis of poaching as the fault of the Chinese ignores the historical factors that have caused environmental catastrophes across Africa and the globe and leads to a misleading 'not our problem' attitude towards these issues in the West.

No comments:

Post a Comment