As the first country in Latin America, Costa Rica prohibits the sport hunting to protect biodiversity. In December 2012, Parliament passed a corresponding draft law, which was signed then by head of state Laura Chinchilla. The new scheme would "allow to live in peace with other living beings who share the planet with us," said Parliament Speaker Victor Emilio Granada. He also thinks that the hunt is not a sport but a cruelty. Furthermore according to the government hunting as a sport is incompatible with the objective of the protection of the wildlife of the country.
Environmental organizations have long been warning that sport hunters pose a serious threat to animal diversity. Costa Rica is known as a natural paradise; about a quarter of the country is protected as national parks or reserves. Arturo Carballo, deputy director of the environmental organization Apreflofas said: "There are no exact details of how much money is generated in the commercial hunting of wild animals in our country. However, we know that illegal hunters pay more than $ 5,000 per person for their secret trips. "
Costa Rica is one of the species-richest countries in the world and is known for its environmental awareness: 25% of the land is protected as national parks or reserves. Under the new law, illegal hunters must now face a prison term of four months or a fine of the equivalent of up to 2,300 euros. Persons who hold wild animals as pets will also be penalized in the future. Persons who hunt non-endangered species for food, however, should not be affected. Anglers also are not covered by the scheme. The law is one thing, control the other, as you can see for example when looking at the elephants in Africa.
African elephants face extinction
In other parts of the world species protection unfortunately is not that successful. In Africa, for example, the elephants face extinction. Annually, tens of thousands of elephants and hundreds of rhinos are being slaughtered cruelly; poaching is raging as never before. Especially in Africa, you can witness horrible scenes: Never before had to die so many elephants and rhinos for their tusks and horns like in recent years. 2011 at least 38.5 tons of ivory were seized, which corresponds to the tusks of over 4000 elephants. But this is just the tip of the iceberg; the real figure is much higher. It is estimated that each year tens of thousands of African elephants die. Even more dramatic is the situation with the rhinos. In the last five years poaching in South Africa increased by at least 3,000 percent. 370 animals were killed last year alone. There are different types of poachers. On the one hand the farmers that are living in the border areas of national parks under the utmost poverty,who often fight for their very survival. For these people, the elephant is considered an enemy, since the elephant destroys their crops in search of food. They try to protect their crops and do not hesitate when they even can earn money with the death of the pachyderms. A killed elephant is a coveted prey, because his meat means stock for many weeks. The fear of the elephant and the ubiquitous poverty drive people into a fight in which illegal support also is welcome, even of the ivory hunters.
Much worse than these farmers, however, are organized poaching gangs that systematically wipe out entire herds with automatic weapons.Through a network of middlemen theyserveillicit markets worldwide. According to experts, many poachers are people in need who take big risks, because it is extremely dangerous to attack a herd of elephants and they earn next to nothing.Those who make the bigmoney with the ivory are others.
The consequences for the species are fatal: In Vietnam, the Java rhino probably alreadywas wiped out by poachers in 2010. African rhinos are threatened by the same fate. The elephant population in Central Africa has been halved in just twelve years, from 1995 to 2007, in the areas under investigation. The explosion-like increase in poaching is primarily due to the ever increasing demand in Asia, where the horn and ivory are supplied illegally. There Rhino powder is weighed in gold and the tusks of an elephant bring tens of thousands of euros. In the bloody business of ivory and rhino international crime syndicates are involved.
The total value of the illegal trade in the species of the wilderness is estimated at eight billion euros per year. Poaching and smuggling are among the five most profitable divisions of international crime - similar to weapons, drugs and human trafficking. Hardly anyone is getting punished by the perpetrators, and if so, then often too mild.
Burning of ivory as a symbolic cry for help to the world
Often criminal organizations even finance local conflicts with their money, particularly in Central Africa. Poaching is therefore not only a crime against nature, but also destabilizes whole state formations. To set an example, Kenya burned Ivory of an estimated value of 100 million euros last year. Because the elephants in Africa are not only an enemy of many people, but also their only hope at present. They are the ones that attract many tourists to the country and are the main attractions of the national parks. The elephants bring money into the country and provide a livelihood for people who otherwise would be living in absolute poverty.
The burning of ivory was thus not only a signal to its own people, but in particular, a symbolic cry for help to the world. When you consider, that many buyers do not realize that for every product made of ivory an elephant must die,such a symbol will appear even more significant. Because according to a study by the IFAW in the main importing country China, many believe tusks would simply fall off, like a deer antler or a baby tooth. This ignorance must be tackled through global attention and global awareness, so that the elephants have a chance. According to estimates of experts in Africa each year 38,000 elephants die from poaching. That's almost 10 percent of the total population. When poaching does not stop, the next generation of elephants will already be the last.
Request for the protection of polar bears fails
You also need to be really worried about the survival of the polar bears. A general ban on the trade of skins and other body parts of the polar bear unfortunately could not be enforced on the CITES Conference in Bangkok. The request failed because only 38 countries voted in favor and 42 against it. Crucial therefore were 46 abstentions, among them the countries of the European Union.
Commercial hunting of polar bears
There are polar bears in Canada, the U.S., Russia, Norway and Greenland. Their number is estimated at some 25,000. It is estimated that 800 polar bears are killed each year, many of them to supply the local population in the regions. But Canada has also allowed the hunting and trade for purely commercial purposes. More than 600 polar bears were hunted in the past year, according to environmentalists. Above all, tall male animals are popular with hunters and then are missing for reproduction. Approximately two-thirds of the polar bears that were shot arrive at the international trade market plus other polar bears that were shot illegally in other states.
Hunting as an additional threat alongside climate change
Sandra Altherr of the organization Pro Wildlife said: "Naturally the main threat to the polar bear is the climate change, but the added threat of international fur trade should have been eliminated today." Already at the last CITES Conference in Doha in 2010 the request for better protection of the polar bear had failed. At that time, in addition to Canada, the EU had voted against it.
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