Some myths are entertaining, some darn right silly, but there are also myths that are deadly.
Many of us were probably introduced to Greek myths some time during our school years. Myths were stories used by people to explain things in their world. Today we know that a myth is a false belief or idea. It is not actually true.
For example it is still a widely held belief among some African tribes that hearing or seeing an owl is bad luck. It is believed that someone you know is going to die. Most of us understand this isn’t true. Either because we’ve seen an owl and nothing happened. Or we know there is no scientific evidence that it has or does happen.
Like the above mentioned, there sadly are still many myths that are deadly for African wildlife conservation. Unlike the above the two I’m about to address are wide spread among educated and intelligent people. Two most troubling myths that are deadly for Africa’s wildlife are:
Since the advent of game farms the numbers of coveted wildlife species like… lion, sable antelope, buffalo, to name a few have supposedly increased. That’s good right? However, many of these game farmers breed these species solely for hunting purposes. Some even creating genetically altered black springbok and white blesbok. Why? To increase their trophy price.
Game farms generally are artificially created and aren’t balanced ecosystems. Predators are killed and kept out. In a nutshell, these hunting game farms are not natural wild places. They are not preserving wildlife as nature intended.
Some large concession allow trophy hunting. Here it is deemed wildlife conservation because it raises money for conservation. Excuse me! If you really want to benefit wildlife why do you have to kill rhino A to save rhino B? If you really care about conserving wildlife why not donate the $10,000, $100,000 or even $300,000 directly to the wildlife conservation project of your choice?
Isn’t it about time we gave up this myth? The truth is, trophy hunting is not wildlife conservation.
Since 2010 thousands of rhino have been poached for their horn. The wild rhino horn is believed to have medicinal qualities. More recently it is seen as a status symbol among the new rich in Asia. That’s the first myth surrounding the rhino. When actually rhino horn is made of keratin, pretty much the same as our finger nails.
What’s worse is, rhino owners (better said rhino farmers) want to capitalize on this myth. They want to capitalize on the rhino poaching frenzy. They want to legalize the selling of rhino horn. Basically they want to get in bed with the bad guys. Join the party. Exploit the rhino.
There are so many things wrong with this notion. The bottom line is however instead of keeping the rhino wild and free (wildlife conservation) legalizing the rhino horn trade will domesticate the species (turn them into cattle.)
Isn’t it time we all saw through this myth? The truth is, legalizing the rhino horn trade will not save the species.
Bottom line, wildlife and nature deserve to be protected not because they can make us money, but purely because its the right thing to do. The right thing for wildlife, nature and ultimately people.