A terribly sad story has surfaced regarding the Kordofan Giraffes, a severely endangered species that is found in Africa’s Democratic Republic of the Congo. The following information comes from both The Huffington Post and The National Geographic Society. The National Geographic video shot by David Hamlin telling the following story can be accessed here. I suggest that you read this tiny summary of the story before watching so as to prepare yourself for an extremely gruesome tale, narrated by Hamlin.
The story begins innocently. The video introduces you to three of the 40 Kordofan Giraffes in existence. Twelve hours after this video was shot, David Hamlin was told, a a ranger patrol heard ten shots. Too late to investigate, they returned the next day to find these rare and beautiful animals dead, splayed, bellies sliced open, and tips of their tails gone.
The poachers slice open their prey’s bellies to attract vultures in an attempt to destroy any evidence of the crime. These poachers were not interested in the meat. All they were after were the tips of their tails.
The tails are used by Congoles men “as a dowry to the bride’s father if they want to ask for the hand of a bride” according to director for African Parks, Leon Lamprecht and National Geographic’s David Hamlin. In the same article, it is noted that the American Wildlife Foundation reports that these long black hairs are also used in good luck bracelets, often sold by the blackmarket to tourists, made into fly whisks and thread. (Chris D’Angelo: Huffington Post. 01/2017)
Hamlin’s anger and frustration with the investigation, lead him to make it his job to “combat wildlife crime using his cameras. Thank you Mr. Hamlin.
The world population of giraffes is in decline, and all giraffes are endangered by poacher collecting tails. The poaching of giraffes for meat and their coats has been on the increase.
Oddly, in their attempts to chase down a meal, spotted hyenas often bite off the giraffe’s tail, thus saving their lives from being massacred by poachers. East African officials say that this phenomena is due the absence of lions, resulting in few to none carcasses for the hyenas to eat. Giraffe’s have increasingly become a target for the hyenas, and often all they catch is the tail.
Poaching policies have helped, but much more needs to be done: immediate help for Kodofan Giraffe. Many organizations are involved in saving all species of giraffes to save giraffes from extinction. As one reads the various stories/reports on this blog, one may discover a pattern here. The decreasing populations of large predators such as lions has a major effect on the ecosystems. Here, no carcasses for the hyenas. In Allen Savory’s findings, large predators keep herds of grazers moving resulting in biodiversity and carbon rich soil. Though some of nature’s genetic experiments fail, every ecosystem on this planet has evolved to ultimately flourish. Humankind is increasingly destroying all of these ecosystems. We must help stop the pending tragedies that face us. Please help. As there are many organization helping Giraffes, check out Google Save Giraffes or Save Kordofan Giraffes.
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With much respect and love.