Empty the Cages – End Wildlife Trade

By on May 25, 2020

In a few years, when the world has recovered from the Coronavirus Pandemic, stories of how we survived these wretched times will be told. Children will be told of how the human race was brought to its knees by a Pandemic that wiped out nearly half a million people. Books will be written, movies made and everyone will get a glimpse of how horrible this Pandemic was.

The one question that will probably require a bit more attention is the question of how exactly the pandemic started. According to scientific reports, it is highly likely that COVID 19 started in a Wet market someone in the Chinese province of Wuhan. A wet market is really just a market where items like fish, produce, perishable goods and fresh meat are sold. It is the sort of place you’ll find plenty of wildlife being traded, obviously, illegally. You will find animals and birds caged, chained and basically treated horribly all for the purpose of making money out of it.

There is a scientific school of thought that states that Coronavirus was birthed form bats and then it made its way to the human race probably through an intermediary animal, most likely a pangolin. While this school of thought offers a possible explanation for why the virus made its way to the human race, one thing is for certain – coronavirus was born from illegal wildlife trade and exploitation.

COVID 19 is just one of so many other zoonotic infectious and diseases that can be traced back to wildlife. When human beings begin to interact a lot more with wild animals, they get exposed to these diseases and create an avenue for them to spread to our race. As a matter of fact, diseases like MERS, Ebola, HIV, and rabies are all born this way – by human beings interacting with wildlife.

This, therefore, begs the question –

Why the hell don’t we leave wild animals alone?

The internet is swarmed with several cries and pleas for the illegal trade on wildlife to be ended once for all. But for some reason, there are still millions of people around the world engaging in this horrible act. It might seem like these people all need to survive and therefore they turn to illegal wildlife trade but the truth of the matter is, the people who actually benefit from this trade are the wealthy folks higher up the ladder. The poor people at the very bottom are very seldom the beneficiaries and are usually the first victims of any diseases spread from the wildlife. According to Interpol, the illegal wildlife trade industry is one that extends to between $10 billion and $20 billion per year, most of it, sadly in the pockets of the wealthy folks.

In essence, the survival of the human race is being threatened by the wealthy folks who take pride and pleasure in the suffering and torture of wild animals. Whether wild animals are being tortured for food, certain medicines, to be used as pets, for luxury products or even for entertainment, we need to stop wildlife trade once and for all because the dangers (which are numerous) outweigh the benefits (if any).

If you saw the treatment of some of these animals that are in captivity, you’d shed a tear. Some of the animals are tortured so that ‘their meat can be tastier’ and they are locked up, caged and shackled just so human beings can get a kick out of it. Animals have emotions and feelings just like human beings. They are able to feel and express sadness, joy, happiness, bitterness, anger, loneliness and all sorts of emotion – just like human beings. This is something that we need to pay attention to especially since we are the smarter race.

The ban on wildlife trade would not only tremendously reduce our risk of infection from wildlife-related diseases, but it would also give wildlife an opportunity to thrive, which would bring a balance back to the Universe. There are several endangered species around the world whose numbers are plummeting because of this terrible act and the sooner we act, the sooner we stop this path to extinction.

Here are some terrible facts about some of the animals we love the most;

  • More than 20,000 African elephants are killed each year in order to meet the demand for Ivory trinkets and ornamental objects.
  • Three rhinos are killed each day in South Africa alone for their horns for tonics and aphrodisiacs and carved ornamental cups such as this cup.
  • One million pangolins have been trafficked in the last ten years. Their products found online include scales for medicinal purposes and leather products like these boots.
  • Marine turtles are trafficked online for products made from their shells such as hair combs and leather products such as boots.
  • Tigers are trafficked as live cubs, furs, claws and teeth (as amulets) and bones used in traditional medicines.

Source: World Wildlife Fund for Nature

At this rate, a time in the not-so-distant future is coming when certain animals will completely be wiped off the face of the earth because of wildlife trade if we don’t do something. In places like Madagascar where the illegal trade in chameleons is a big problem, the survival rate of the Chameleons is extremely low because the chameleons are transported by boat or air to consumers and these organisms don’t survive much on boats or in the air. In fact, the survival rate is as low as 1%.

As the G20 Leaders Summit comes closer, it is important for the powers that be to look long and hard at this issue of wildlife trade and ban it once and for all. There is overwhelming evidence that human beings trading in wildlife causes plenty of trouble to the human race, the animals and the universe at large and balance needs to be restored as soon as possible.

To give the G20 a reason to consider this plea, we all need to be a part of the fight. For starters, we need to stop the purchase of items that are products of this wildlife trade. Secondly, we need to spread the word further out there that wildlife trade is more dangerous and disastrous than we think. Thirdly, we need to hold our leaders accountable. Wherever you are, demand your leaders to pay attention to wildlife trade so they can put a stop to it in all their capacities. And finally, we need to each be accountable to ourselves. If you know someone who is engaging in this trade, now is the time to reach out to them and help them see the dangers of the illegal wildlife trade.

In the meantime, be a part of the Global call for the G20 to act- sign the petition and do something for the Universe. We have done so much evil to this Universe it is time we started making amends. Ending wildlife trade is a good place to start. The Coronavirus pandemic is teaching us many lessons but top on the list should be the fact that we need to rethink many of the things we have grown accustomed to, one of them is wildlife trade – End It!

“The only good cage is an empty cage.”― Lawrence Anthony, The Elephant Whisperer

Bernard Ewalu Olupot
a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
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Beewol - The Talkative Rocker