Slideshow below are random shots I took while at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park today. I admire the efforts at this facility in educating the public about endangered animals as well as their active role in helping to stop some species from becoming extinct.
On the topic of poaching, I think there is something to be said about the rich countries versus the poor.
Whenever we hear about endangered species, the conversation invariably focuses on the poachers who are poor and exploiting the endangered animals for personal economic gain, isn’t it? While that is true, I think such poor people deserve a bit of sympathy as well. Perhaps they should be given assistance from the world’s rich to industrialize so that they have much stronger alternative means to survive and thrive.
Worse yet, many countries on our planet are still being ravaged by war (and often brought upon them from foreign countries afar), so their people kill whatever animal they can find as food for survival. War also bring about ecological disasters which can wipe out large number of animals. Consider this Sierra Club of Canada report, “The Environmental Consequences of War:”
While the spraying of Agent Orange to defoliate jungles in Vietnam and burning of oil wells in Iraq have become icons of environmental warfare, many lesser-known but no less significant acts of ecocide have been perpetrated by warring states. Among them is the extensive toll of water contamination on environmental and health security and the impact of combat on endangered species.
Furthermore, if poor countries are expected to allocate certain portion of their land to conservation, perhaps those countries deserve compensation for shouldering the burden of sustaining our world’s endangered species.
Fundamentally though, I think the main problem with our decline in animals (and plants for that matter) is the growth in human population. We have recently exceeded 7 billion people on this planet. That means more destruction of habitats, more pollution of our environment, and higher consumption of animals.
More human = less animals. There is no way around it.
So, I wondered . . . at what point do we start a serious conversation about limiting human population growth.