Crisis – Coronavirus shut down leads to widespread poaching of protected animals

poachers killing rhinos
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As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact every aspect of life around the globe, a crisis is underway for protect animals who are falling victim to opportunistic poachers. As reported by CNBC News, tourism in Africa has come to a screeching halt and poachers are quickly taking advantage of the situation.

Organizations, tourists and safari guides normally present are now prohibited from being in areas where at-risk rhinos, elephants and other vulnerable animals live, and the poachers are making the most of the opportunity to kill.

Ryan Tate, with VetPaw (an organization created to help protect African wildlife), tells the news agency:

It’s a helpless feeling. Poaching doesn’t stop just because there’s a virus — if anything, it picks up.

The shutdowns have proven deadly, with at least six rhinos dead so far in Botswana and nine dead in northwest South Africa. Map Ives, founder of Rhino Conservation Botswana, said:

“It’s a bloody calamity. It’s an absolute crisis.”


“The poachers have been emboldened because the playing field is in their favor and they won’t have as many problems moving around.”

Adding insult to injury, the organizations established to help protect the at-risk wildlife are seeing their donations dry up and wildlife conservation, supported by tourism, is taking an epic hit. Tate tells CNBC:

There’s a lot of people struggling in Africa, a lot of private reserves that have helped save a few species including rhinos. Now they don’t have that ecotourism they depend on, it’s gone. There’s going to be a lot of damage done from this.”

And there are fears that the destroyed economy will push desperate people to turn to poaching just go survive. Ryan explains,

Why do criminals commit acts of crime? They do it because they’re desperate and it’s a quick easy means for money. Poaching is no different. There’s a lot of desperate people out there because of the virus and [poaching] will absolutely pick up.”

Continue reading: Millions of chickens being slaughtered because of coronavirus pandemic

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