The coronavirus pandemic has almost shut down tourism to the great reserves and national parks of Africa where they would normally be destined to see the unique wildlife of that magnificent continent. Ironically, because of their presence, tourists help to protect those wild species that are targeted for poaching such as rhinoceros for their horns. Without tourists the burden to protect them falls upon rangers and they are spread far too thin to do the job effectively.
Since South Africa, for example, announced their national lockdown, Rhino 911, a nonprofit providing emergency helicopter transport for rhinos, have been active almost daily. The poaching incursions are happening more frequently.
However, the way that conservation takes place in Africa of the great species like rhinos and lions is completely myopic, destined to failure and things must change. Both lion bones and rhino horns are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Rhino horn has been used in Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years. It is used to treat fever, gout, rheumatism and other disorders. The traditional Chinese texts written in 1597 are the traditional Chinese medicine bibles. These are opinions and thoughts and ideas that hark back millennia and people in China still believe it. They are sickenly out of date.
There is also a huge recent demand in rhino horn in Vietnam where it is touted as a cure for hangovers and terminal illnesses and much more. Is also starting to become more common to believe that rhino horn can be an aphrodisiac and sexual stimulant.
All of these beliefs are assuredly incorrect and false. There is no scientific evidence to support them but these beliefs are making extinct in the wild the great wild animals. Surely, therefore, if the world really wants to prevent poaching of these highly endangered wild species, they must without delay, tackle the problem AT SOURCE. They must ban their use in traditional Chinese medicine. There is not enough time to alter a deeply entrenched culture in China that these animal products improve health. There’s no time for that.
The West and other countries must put pressure to bear upon China through sanctions or whatever else it takes to force them to find alternatives to lion and tiger bone and rhino horn in their traditional medicine. There must be alternatives that can be manufactured in laboratories. There must be pharmaceutical companies which can synthesise substitutes to these naturally occurring products which are pieces of an animal’s anatomy.
The chemical substitutes will no doubt be truly effective and not placebos. Why can’t this be done? Do we have to stand on the sidelines and watch this decimation of the great wild species? Do we have to watch this daily struggle against poachers which is transparently failing. For how long do we accept the failure of conservation in Africa and indeed in India where the Bengal tiger is poached in a similar manner?
Surely the powers that be, the governments of this world can sort something out. These are snowflake governments and/or they don’t care about the natural world and the wellbeing of the planet. On another pressing topic, it is said that global warming will make the planet uninhabitable for 3 billion people by 2070 because it will be like living in the Sahara for these people.
It is completely shameless that the Chinese government, this communist dictatorship, does nothing, absolutely nothing to protect rhinos, lions and tigers and other species by changing the law in China concerning the use of their traditional medicine.
It is time to change and to take PROACTIVE conservation steps and the stop being reactive. Reactive conservation does not work and it never will work.