Poaching big game in the Africa continent has become more than an epidemic. The systemic search, seizure, and in many instances, killing of wildlife in sub Saharan Africa and parts of Asia has grown to completely unsustainable levels. Everyone knows these monsters relish the iconic elephant tusks, but do you know what is the most trafficked animal on earth? The pangolin.
The pangolin is basically a scaly anteater. The largest bust in the illegal pangolin trade recently occurred with nearly 36,000 of these creatures being found in a single 40’ container ship in Singapore labeled as frozen meat. Who is behind the pangolin trade? Well, you always have to start with the consumer. For the same reason the war on drugs in the United States, and really the entire world will never work – the war against poaching won’t be won without combatting the vile bastards that employ and pay the poachers.
Think about this – you’re a poor man in South Africa with a family to feed. When i say poor, i don’t mean American poor, i mean dirt floor, no hope for a job, no education poor. You are desperate as can be and in need of cash to feed your family and hopefully get your kids a future you never had. Then through friend of a friend, word on the street, or through the grapevine, you hear that for bringing in 1 elephant tusk, you will be paid more than you could make in an entire year doing what you were doing.
The street value for a kilo of ivory is about $1000/lb roughly. That is actually pretty good news considering it used to hover around $1500/lb only about 9 years ago. My intention here is to show you that poachers aren’t necessarily terrible people. Yes of course many of them are, and some have been so deep into the criminal underworld for so long that it wouldn’t matter what their trade was, they’d still be giant shitbags. Highlighting the fact that people in extreme poverty will do what is necessary to feed and educate their families is important as well however.
The real culprits in this abominable situation are the bastards that want new Ivory, pangolin scales for their tea, and any other sacred animal part for some ancient religious ceremonial tradition or cock raising potion.
I understand that I will never know many of these traditions. I also know i can never comprehend the importance many of these beliefs are to these people but i can grasp 1 concrete theme – that is don’t be a piece of shit and slaughter precious animals for your own perceived minute gain. I eat meat, I own a dog, and I have killed a dear. I’m no poster child for PETA and vegans and vegetarians around the world, but there is a fundamental difference between killing plentiful animals for consumption of meat and the systematic extermination of dwindling species for some fertility gain.
It seems as though China is the world leader in consumption of these animal parts, along with other asian countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Cambodia. Although there are people across the globe participating in the illegal trade, it seems the rest of the world is more after display pieces and less into consumption and medicinal aspects of poaching, while Asia is into both.
Baja Llama hates poaching! We also hate the poachers and more than anyone else, the pieces of shit people who pay the poachers for their kills. The end consumers need lessons in simple chemistry to know that many of their beliefs in potions containing certain rare animal parts are purely fantasy with no merit in being accurate. I’m no expert on health benefits of every animal part on earth, so i can’t definitively say that none of their beliefs work at all. I can definitely say that if you use an elephant tusk or a tiger paw in any thing that you extract, eat, or rub on your good for nothing body, you’re a scumbag on the level of Mussolini and Phama Bro.
There is some hope though. The rate at which some big game are declining in numbers is slowing. This is still on an unsustainable trajectory and needs to slow further. It does at least seem like global mindsets are starting to turn and anti-poaching efforts are starting to work. The problem always lies with money. Anti-poachers need more to fund their efforts to cover such large swaths of land and poachers need less of it coming from crazy rich consumers.
Fight Against Poaching! Our No Poaching shirt was inspired by these disgusting acts as a way to highlight and raise awareness to this systemic problem. We hand painted this print in house to show animals fighting back in the most interesting and beautiful way imaginable. Check it out HERE.