Obama Administration to Spend Millions Combating Wildlife Poaching
The U.S. government is taking a firm stance to combat wildlife poaching in South Africa, and will spend millions of dollars in order to halt the illegal activity that is driving many species to the brink of extinction.
As South Africa is home to 80 percent of the entire world’s rhino population, and since the United States have become the second largest market worldwide for the illegal items that are a by-product of poaching, Washington is focusing on training as well as data collection, in order to reverse the effects of poaching.
The South African government is of course dealing with the issue as well, and has a different approach. Just about a month ago, a court reversed the ban on the domestic trade in rhino horns, with the (controversial) idea that keeping the trade legal would prevent the poachers from such high gains, and ideally would deter them from poaching in the first place. Currently, the business of wildlife trafficking brings in about $20 billion a year. Democrat Senator Chris Coons stated:
“The bottom line is the impact of wildlife trafficking isn’t just contained to Africa. The impacts of this rapidly growing crisis are spreading around the world, now even threatening our national security.”
The Endangered Wildlife Trust, a non-governmental environmental group based just outside of Johannesburg, is one of the organizations that is receiving funds from the U.S., specifically to train law enforcement, as well as government officials, in using surveillance equipment in order to prevent illegal poaching. The organization has trained over 450 police and officials, with more arrests of those suspected of being involved in these illegal activities.
By the summer of 2015, 749 rhinos had been killed by poachers in South Africa alone, based on the estimates from the South African government. Compared to the 2014, the number has risen, and the attempts to tackle the problem with different strategies is understandable.
While the problem itself is worsening over time, hopefully both governments can work together to combat this serious issue more effectively via all methods possible, and continue informing the world about the truth behind these so-called luxury products.
Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poaching