Nature is being wiped out in our oceans and on the land as the global demand for illegal wildlife products now exceeds $300 billion in annual sales - feeding international crime syndicates, rapidly impoverishing all life forms.
Yesterday (September 25, 2013) in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe poachers - the scourge of our planet - annihilated at least 90 more African elephants by poisoning their watering hole with cyanide. Earlier this month they poisoned at least 41 mature elephants in the Park in an attempt to feed the insatiable Asian demand for ivory, which now fetches $1,000 a pound.
To give you some idea of how quickly Earthlings are exterminating elephants in 1980 there were about 1.2 million African beasts. Last year the estimate was at most 400,000 remaining. Since 2002, the African forested elephant population has plummeted by 76 percent. In Tanzania alone the population estimate in 2008 was approximately 165,000 -- today there are fewer than 23,000 elephants left.
The Obama Administration led by Hillary Rodham Clinton has pledged to step-up the fight to save the elephants. Recently 6 tons of ivory was seized in the U.S. And earlier this year, the Philippines announced that it had crushed 15 tons of elephant ivory. There are simply not enough animals remaining on the planet at the current rate of this prolonged looting spree to file another of these depraved poaching reports of 21 tons of elephant ivory confiscated within one year. An even more infuriating question is: How many more tons this year are being gobbled up on the black market? Unknown, vast quantities.
What has happened to Earthlings?
Humans are so unconscious and detached from the natural world that the media headlines now report one heinous act against nature after the next attempting to best one another in brutality and illegal sales ($) of animal parts.
These unimaginable atrocities against nature: killing whales, dolphins, bluefin tuna, elephants, rhinos, polar and grizzly bears, lions, tigers, jaguars to name but a few apex predators are crimes against humanity! Without predators to keep prey fit and cull the old and weak, diseases will spread, ecosystems will crumble including Homo sapiens.
What kind of a world are we leaving for our children?
I suggest that all poachers worldwide be subjugated like international drug traffickers and face the stiffest judicial penalties possible within all 198 countries on planet Earth.
Clearly it is now time to stand up and protect what remains of nature and her Animal Kingdom, wouldn't you agree?
Please support the conservation work of the International Fund for Animal Welfare and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Earth Dr Reese Halter is a broadcaster, biologist, educator and co-author of Life, The Wonder of it All.