The week’s news included this depressing revelation, courtesy of the World Wildlife Fund’s 2014 Living Planet Report:
Population sizes of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, have decreased by over half in the last 40 years. At the same time, humans’ demand for natural resources have increased to where we’d need 1 1/2 planets to meet our current demand.
We humans are an invasive species, and we’re using up every resource we can get our hands on, with no thought of the consequences to ourselves, other humans, and certainly not to other species. And while we give lip service to saving the majestic elephants, rhinos, and big cats, there is no collective will to make the significant lifestyle changes needed to make that happen.
No, I think it’s time we admitted the inevitable: these animals are destined for extinction, and we’re going to let it happen.
There. The secret’s out. No need to tiptoe around it anymore.
And now that we’ve admitted that to ourselves, we must ask ourselves the next hard question:
Are we going to let those species go truly extinct, or are we going to allow captive breeding to continue?
We all know of the atrocities suffered by these animals. Tigers bred to be petted as babies, then housed in small cages for the rest of their lives, or killed so their parts can be sold. Elephants trained as entertainers in circuses. Rhinos paraded around in their zoo habitat, which may be quite cozy, or may be an over-sized concrete jail cell. Will we allow zoos to breed (and kill) to keep animals on hand for public display? Will we let the tiger cubs continue to be petted? Will rhino farms crop up so they can be killed for their horns?
Once the animals are deemed extinct, the collectors will come out of the woodwork, and the price for these animals- dead or alive- will skyrocket.
So, what are we going to do? We have to answer these questions now. Once extinction has been deemed, it will be too late to debate them.
Of course, it’s probably a moot point anyway. If there’s no will to help them now, there will be even less once they’re gone from the wild.