As always Animal Welfare Activist Chris Mercer tells it like it is. Asia’s illegal wildlife trade driving African wildlife species to extinction.
Rhino Pseudo Hunter Gets 40 Years Jail: Random Thoughts
By Chris Mercer (animal welfare activist and founder Campaign Against Canned Hunting)
The comments posted on social media about the 40 year prison sentence for Chumlong express unbridled schadenfreude. Rarely has a prison sentence kindled such joy in the world of conservation.
The 40 year prison sentence was a savage one for the rather technical offences for which Chumlong was convicted; after all, he was not a poacher; he only did what the trophy hunters do every day – get permits and pay the hunting operator. But the hunters want the whole severed head of the animal, whereas Chumlong only wanted the valuable horn. Hardly a good reason to describe hunters as conservationists, and to punish Chumlong with a 40 year jail term.
However I am advised that Chumlong’s syndicate also has links to ivory poaching, so if we add what he was not charged with to the equation, 40 years might well turn out to be too lenient.
The Chumlong case gives me no reason to feel good. Actually, it exposes a can of worms.
- Chumlong was part of a syndicate involving culprits from within South Africa as well as a network of foreigners. Yet only he has been punished. All the accomplices have gone free.
- The criminal justice system has been shown to be hopeless. All that the Chumlong case has done is to give confidence to wildlife criminals.
- The permit system has been exposed yet again as worse than most South Africans can even imagine. The quality of our conservation services are among the worst in the world – this fact verified by an international comparative study which ranked S.A. at 134 out of 138 countries.
- The light that this case shines on the hunting industry is not a flattering one. Every day rich white hunters inflict the same suffering on unoffending rhinos that Chumlong did – yet no one in our ethically illiterate conservation services speaks out against the licensed inhumanity. When are we going to follow the lead of more enlightened African countries like Kenya and Botswana and ban all sport and trophy hunting as a barbaric relic of colonialism?
- The ruthless Asian wildlife crime syndicates have clearly targeted Africa and they will loot our wildlife heritage to extinction. After the rhinos and the elephants will go the lions and any other species that have any commercial value. China and its satellites are a black hole in the conservation universe. Having emptied the forests of Asia, they are now starting to pillage the plains of Africa. Protected by strong political and economic connections with African governments, they will loot our wildlife to extinction. What is to stop them?
Thank you Chris. A bad situation, let’s raise our voices! Let’s support the efforts of US Secretary Hillary Clinton, wildlife conservation and activist organization, individuals and groups! Let’s support those like Chris (who speak out) and Peter (who work relentlessly in the trenches) to save the rhino and other endangered and threatened wildife species from poachers!
Let’s share and spread awareness!