A major issue for the past century or so has been poacher’s illegally killing wildlife for goods to sell in the international market. Tiger pelts and ivory for animals’ horns have been at the top of the list. Just recently many major nations have been taking strides prevent these illegal activities. In one instance, the United States brought an action against a South African company for selling illegally obtained rhinoceros horns. These animal horns are being sold on the black market at prices that surpass those of gold. An eight pound horn alone can be worth over $360,000 on the black market. The value alone gives an incentive to the poachers; something valued at such a high price seems to outweigh the benefits to the wildlife in the eyes of these poachers, and many other for that matter. This does not make it okay though.
The Lacey Act speaks to illegal wildlife trafficking and poaching. On top of this, under United States and international laws, rhinoceros species of every kind are protected. In the case United States v. Groenewald, filed on October 16, 2014 in the Northern Division for the Middle District of Alabama, criminal charges were brought against the defendants for violations of the Lancy Act, aiding and abetting, conspiracy, mail fraud, international money laundering, and structuring. It is extremely important that justice is brought on wildlife’s behalf. People should not be able to violate international laws no matter what the reason. The acts that the poachers are performing are uncalled for. Vigorously killing off innocent animals in order to better themselves in the international market is unacceptable. Animals should not be subjected to these conditions. Poaching has many adverse effects not only on the animals, but on local communities and the environment.
Some species are becoming endangered from the rate that they are being hunted in, and something needs to be done to end this. Do you think that by the United States filing this action, poachers will be warned that they could face prosecution for their illegal acts, no matter what nation the hunt takes place in? Will this be enough to try to stop poachers from hunting these valuable animals?
Sources: U.S. v. Groenewald, The United States Department of Justice
I think that this is a very important issue because it is endangering many animals and is one of the highest degrees of animal cruelty. Poachers are employing brutal tactics in killing these animals in extremely cruel and disturbing ways such as wounding the animals with arrows or guns and then removing the horns of the rhinoceros with a chainsaw. This behavior by poachers is not only disturbing but is unlawful. I think that by the United States filing this action, poachers will be warned that they could face prosecution for their illegal acts no matter what nation the hunt takes place in because it is putting the poachers on notice that this activity is unlawful and that certain species such as the rhinoceros need to be protected.
I don’t think this will be enough to stop poachers from hunting these valuable animals because of the high cost of selling certain parts of animals such as their horns or pelts. I think that by highlighting this illegal activity and the harsh cruelties surrounding this animal torture to simply obtain a horn through media coverage and public awareness is one step in spreading awareness of this issue. Another means of spreading awareness is to prosecute these poaches to set an example in the international community that this type of behavior is unacceptable.
Part of the issue here, in respect to saving wildlife, is where to start. Or even better, with what animals to start. According to the WWF, the earth has lost roughly 50% (yes, HALF) of its entire wildlife population in the past 40 years. If this truly is the case, we are not only behind on taking action but any action that has been taken has not produced enough results. Since this is the case, I, unfortunately, don’t think much will deter poachers and the like from pursuing the already decreasing numbers of animals like that of the rhino. But it is important for these hunters to know that despite what country they are in and what country they decide to embark on these hunts in, the United States and other allies are willing to hold them legally responsible for the harm they have caused, and may cause in the future.