“The poaching crisis is taking more from us than just elephants,” the Wildlife Conservation Society reports. “We must put a stop to it.” Roger that! As someone who’s seen African elephants in their native habitat, I hate to see these magnificent creatures pushed to the edge of extinction by poachers bent on harvesting their tusks for the illegal ivory trade. But the Wildlife Conservation Society’s plan to stop the slaughter singularly fails to mention the fact that anti-poaching initiatives have failed. They will continue to fail until they add legal hunting to the mix. I say this as someone who would never shoot an elephant (unless it was intent on killing someone). Am I wrong? Email blast after the jump . . .
The trail of death surrounding elephant poaching in Africa is now extending well beyond elephants.
You see, it takes a poacher about an hour to hack off the tusks after they kill an elephant. In that time, vultures can circle overhead, potentially tipping off rangers.
One solution? Poison the carcass. What follows is a gruesome death for the vultures, as well as any lions or hyenas that happen to feast on the poisoned meat after the poachers flee the scene of the crime.
I hope you never have to witness a young lion cub dying from poisoning, as it lies on its side in convulsions, and scrapes the ground bare trying to stand up and get back to its pride. It is truly one of the most harrowing experiences I’ve encountered in over 30 years in the field.
These senseless deaths are, in a word, unacceptable. I have no intention of standing by while innocent life after innocent life is taken solely for profit. Are you with me, Robert?
If you are, this is your moment. Stand up against this type of murderous depravity and protect wildlife with a donation today. We’re aiming to raise $200,000 by midnight on December 31. As little as $5 can help get us there.
Clearly, elephants aren’t the only animals in the crosshairs. WCS and local partners on the ground have worked tirelessly to establish sanctuaries across Mongolia. Poachers had other ideas, decimating herds of the Siberian ibex, goitered gazelle, argali, and the Mongolian wild ass to cash in on the demand for exotic meats around the world. Disgusting.
As we expand protected areas, ecoguards on the ground in places like Mongolia report having trouble patrolling hundreds and thousands of acres – there’s simply not enough boots on the ground. And poachers get creative, too – whether it’s poisoning vultures, or tracking the movements of park staff so they can plan their attacks accordingly.
We’ve got to stay two steps ahead of poachers. Here’s how we plan to do it:
- Put more boots on the ground to patrol protected lands. Without people to enforce the restrictions, protected areas are not protecting the lands and the animals we think they are.
- Use smart technology to identify poaching hot spots faster. It’s tracking devices to know where animals are at all times. It’s aerial surveillance to stay one step ahead of poachers.
Increase our ability to understand the illegal wildlife trade and act to stop it. It’s good to capture poachers when they poach. It’s better to stop poaching before it happens, and capture those in the illegal wildlife trade that pay the poachers.
Poachers and their pals want us to give up. They’re hoping the world will accept that slaughtered ibex, elephants, and gazelles are just part of life. If that’s what you want to do, feel free to ignore this email.
But if you’re ready to outsmart poachers and save wildlife, chip in $5 to help us turn the tables on those profiting from these awful deeds around the world.
Thank you for standing with us.
Executive Director, Africa Program
Wildlife Conservation Society