They fill documentary films and are the highlights of an Africa Safari. Elephants, lions, giraffes and rhinos are the major attractions on every tour. But the stars of the animal kingdom disappear in many places in Africa. Will we be the last generations to observe these animals in the wild?
100 years ago there were an estimated 12 million elephants on the African continent. Their number has declined to about 415,000. It is estimated that 55 elephants die every day to satisfy the greed of poachers targeting these animals for their ivory. Due to the growing human population of Africa, there is more and more conflict between humans and animals and the habitat of these animals is under threat. According to forecasts, the human population in Africa will double by 2050. How much of their natural habitat will remain for these the animals?
The same applies to the lions. Their number has almost halved in the last 25 years to about 20,000 animals. As wild lion populations decrease, the number of lions in captivity increases. In recent years, the demand from Asia for lion bones, claws and teeth has increased, making these animals the target of poachers. Poachers often use poison to kill these animals.
Giraffe populations have decreased by 40% in the last 30 years. Giraffes are now on the IUCN list of endangered animals. The loss of habitat affects the animals just as much as poaching.
But the rhinoceros is at the top of the poacher list.
Unfortunately, pictures like this are a cruel reality. We have covered a part of the picture, however, even so, the suffering of the animal becomes all too clear when the horn was cut off with an axe.
In southern Africa there is a fierce fight against rhino poaching. Less than 20,000 animals live in South Africa, 2/3 of the world’s population. The number of poached rhinos peaked in 2014 at 1215 and has been declining since. However, this is not only due to the enormous efforts to protect the animals, but also the fact that the remaining animals are no longer so easy to track down.
The horns in the Asian markets are priced at $160,000-$240,000 per horn. Many people there believe in the healing power of the horn which, like our fingernails, consists of keratin. For some wealthy Asians it is also trendy to cure headaches after too much alcohol consumption (hangover) with rhinoceros horn powder.
The illegal trade in wild animal products is worth up to 20 billion Euros. The most illegally traded wild animal is the pangolin, whose scales of keratin are used for traditional Asian medicine. To remove the scales more easily, it is cooked alive. Poaching is often also used for so-called bushmeat for self-sufficiency or for sale. This is also applicable to many other game animals that are caught and killed mostly with wire snares.
Since 1970, the Living Planet Report 2018 shows a decline of 60% in mammals, birds, fish and amphibians. According to a UN report, 1 million species are threatened with extinction. A study has shown that large animal species such as rhinos will be particularly affected. These key species could cause ecosystems to collapse, which would have a direct impact on us humans.
Therefore, there is an urgent need for action to protect wild animals and their habitats. The following video is about people who work for the wellbeing of these animals, putting their lives at risk every day.
- We develop and support programmes that provide deep insights into environmental and animal protection on the ground in Southern Africa and allow us to actively participate in projects. Thus, we learn a lot about nature and wildlife and protect them at the same time. We will be reporting on this in detail shortly. If you are interested in these programmes, please contact us.
- We are campaigning against poaching in Southern Africa. Our commitment is focused on the support of animals and humans. Sustainable animal protection against poaching can only succeed if the local population around the reserves benefits from the animals and supports animal protection.