Let’s raise awareness, one post at a time
By Luca Hogan
A few years ago, a TV show travelled to Namibia for a special episode to look for rare animals. It would make sense that a rare species would be protected, and that nobody would ever try to hurt or even kill a rare animal, especially an endangered one. But the 3 presenters struggled to find any animals at all, let alone rare species.
They were not underequipped; they knew exactly where to look for that time of year. They knew how to stay hidden to not spook the animals, but still: nothing. Then the main presenter explained something that is almost as interesting as it is sad: the valley they were in was a hotspot for poachers. All of the rare, endangered species were either killed or forced to leave the area to escape these poachers.
The motive for poachers is mostly fur. Once collected, the fur would be shipped (illegally) to America, where it would be crafted into fur coats. One of the presenters explained that before he was aware of how bad the process was to make fur coats, he had bought some. So, what they had learned from filming that episode is that lack of human-awareness was the reason they could not find any rare species on their trip.
I conducted a survey on this topic, showing that: 40% of the group didn’t know what poaching was, and 50% didn’t know of its connection to fur products. I also had the group guess how many species have gone extinct due to animal poaching. The guessed results were between 100 and 3000 species. In reality, over 30,000 species go extinct every single year due to animal poaching.
Most people are not aware of the fact that this is a significant issue, which means that the minority of people that do in fact know that the main motive of poaching is to collect fur, still won’t think that it’s enough of a concern to worry about it. So, these people will still buy fur coats, feeding into this illegal industry. But I don’t blame them. The companies that produce fur coats do not want you to know how concerning the issue is. And because of that, we are barely taught anything about this in school, and any attempt made by the media to try and spread awareness about this issue is normally silenced in some way or another.
This leads to one final question: what can regular people like us do about it? The television presenters that I mentioned tried to spread the word about the issue, but they were only able to do that because they had a high budget to get information to the media, and a large audience. But for somebody that has neither of those useful resources, what can you do? Social media is your best friend for something like this. It is a way to quickly gain a large audience. So, I encourage you to share about this issue on all your social media platforms, that is the most effective way to stop the issue. We don’t need to send people out to stop poachers, they already have enough rangers trying to do just that. It is up to us to educate the western side of the world, raise awareness and stop buying fur coats. With little to no demand for fur coats, animal poaching as a whole will all but stop. So please, help us stop this terrible inhumane issue.