The Cost of Extinction

The poaching of endangered species is driven by the high profits to be made from them, and a recent article in the i gives  list of the value of many wild animals when dead, and the white rhino is top of the list, followed by tigers.

These animals are in a “double jeopardy of extinction” because, apart from being highly sought after, they were relatively rare in the first place since larger animals are typically scarcer than smaller ones. …

Loren McClenachen of Colby College in the US state of Main said “the extreme values of these species mean that without significant conservation intervention, they will be hunted to extinction.”

Tiger penis is the world’s most expensive animal part, commanding $473,506 per kg on the black market, followed by bear gall bladders at $473,379 and rhino horn at $100,000 – all of which are used in traditional Asian medicine. Gold, meanwhile, fetches around $39,000 per kg.

Rhinos are chiefly prized for their horns, which are believed to have medicinal properties – from healing snakebites to curing cancer – none of which are backed by science.

The research identified 67 land-based and 62 marine species that are highly vulnerable. Demand for their parts is being driven, in late part, by he emerging wealthy of China where they are regarded as a status symbol.

Ivory, horn, shell, skin and jaws are used for decorative purposes, while gall bladders, gill plates bones and other body parts are used for medicine. Shark fins are used in soup and tiger bones are used tomato wine.

At least 1,338 rhinos were killed in Africa for their horns last year, the 6th consecutive annual increase, while last week an unprecedented haul of 40 tiger cub carcasses were found frozen in a Buddhist temple in Thailand which, despite denials from the management, experts fear were destine for the blackmarket.

Wildlife crime may be increasing in many areas but changes in the past few years give cause for hope.

Governments worldwide agree that packing must be dealt with, and that consensus carries considerable political clout. Last year the United Nations raise poaching to the same status as drug dealing and terror financing and hotspots such as Tanzania and Kenya have brought in much harsher penalties.

These changes are a start but with demand for animal parts so high much remains to be done. Much investment will e needs – to gather intelligence, to patrol ports and borders, to train law enforcement officers to monitor transport networks and to reduce demand any educating consumers about the damage they are doing.

This latest seems to be the most important and potentially the cheapest.

The price of endangered species are:

White rhino $360,000

Tiger $350,193

Whale Shark $341,139

Black Rhino $280,000

Basking Shark $131,349

White shark $91,729

Indian rhino $72,200

Javan rhino $67,600

African elephant $53,768

Polar bear $31,340

Small tooth sawfish $27,940

Green tooth sawfish $27,940

Sumatran rhino $26,900

Narrow sawfish $24,291

Asian elephant $22,880

Brown bear $22,169

Asiatic brown bear $21,282

Smooth hammerhead $16,754

Giant guitarfish $16,564

Andean bear $15,629

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