By Phillip Y. Kim
No, this blogger is not advocating committing murder. But the practice of poaching ivory from elephants needs to be exterminated. Now. This Shanghaiist article reports that 1.9 tons of illegally sourced elephant tusks have been found in the Tanzania home of three Chinese men. The culprits made lame excuses for the existence of the stash. The trio claimed that the tusks were being held for a friend. They asserted that they were simply small business people involved in the garlic trade, of all things (the tusks were hid among mounds of the pungent root). They were less sure-footed in explaining why they had tried to offer a bribe of $19,000 to the authorities to let things slide, or why they had dual license plates for their specially converted minibus.
As the tide of wealthy Chinese continues grow, one can only hope fervently that a consciousness of the heinous global rare wildlife trade (e.g. elephants, shark fins, bears, tigers) influences their consumption patterns. Paying large sums for rare gemstones, grape wine or fine cloth hardly has the same moral and environmental consequences as permanently killing off species that are both vital and magnificent to behold.