Recently, there has been a surge in the number of poaching kills in Africa, as well as a shift in the lengths they will go to cover their tracks. This recent article from National Geographic concerns poachers who poison the carcasses of elephants to kill the vultures that give away the location of the kills to game wardens. Both the poaching of the elephants, rhinos and more, along with the poisoning of the vultures (most of which are endangered species as well) are deplorable from our position.
But what would you do to feed your family? We forget the context sometimes, but these poachers are not what we see in the movies, sure, there are some uber-wealthy folks poaching for the kill on their list, but most are extremely poor individuals who are desperate and doing what it takes to feed their family. The income they receive from one poach is the equivalent to nearly a full year of income for the average family in the countries where poaching is a problem.
Its [sic\ easy to condemn these acts from our vantage thousands of miles away in the comfort of our homes and comfortable lives. When we look at the context however it is hard to tell a family they should go hungry for the life of an animal, no matter how majestic. It is time that we acknowledge these atrocious acts are a consequence of the larger problem of wide-spread extreme poverty and that if we want to end poaching, we need to treat the root cause.
What ideas do you have to incorporate fighting poaching into the larger fight against extreme poverty?