Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Blog 5: Execution of elephant poachers on the spot

Summary: “Shoot to kill” is the new policy in Tanzania set by the government minister in regards to poachers killing African Elephants. Those guilty of illegal ivory trade are to killed on the spot. This is dangerous ground for rangers, poachers, as well as the elephants. Over the past ten years, a thousand rangers have been killed during the decade and half the population of elephants in just three years. Khamis Kagasheki of the Tanzanian government says “Poachers must be harshly punished because they are merciless people who wantonly kill our wildlife and sometimes wardens.” Ivory is incredibly precious and other leaders in the country agree that poachers would stop at nothing to retrieve it and kill anyone who stands in their way. Local rangers are in a poaching war. Officials claim that instant killing of poachers will create a deterrence. Common criticism of the policy includes that killing will just escalate violence rather than containing it.

Analysis: Poaching and trade of ivory is illegal. Through constant tries to relieve the problem, many rangers died in defense as well as elephants. The question is, what's more important? Human rights is the issue for the opposers of the “shoot to kill” policy and on the other hand, there is the worry of possible extinction of a species. Elephants are an important part of the savannah ecosystem. Some might put them in the same boat at polar bears; on the verge of extinction due to human activities. Human rights activist view on the matter is arguably biased on the issue. Placing the human above all other creatures that we share the Earth is often justified by the majority but the pros and cons are not laid out evenly. Perhaps a more potent solution that doesn’t involve killing people and can still effectively protect the elephants is somewhere in the middle. Either way, the decision has been made to enforce the policy and continue the poaching war. The threat to rangers will most likely increase and result in more deaths. As the for the elephants, this is a positive step in conservation and protection that will hopefully prove to be beneficial.

Addie McKay
1:25 pm

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