Humans are monsters
September 17, 2016 9:58 PM   Subscribe

Jeepers, what a place. That was really well written. Thanks for posting.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 11:09 PM on September 17, 2016

That's a tough read.
The part where he gets to the box of ivory chips and flakes, rememnants of the destroyed artifacts that were confiscated. Destroyed because,
This was to demonstrate that no matter how intricate the artwork of each piece, it was worthless compared to these irreplaceable creature’s lives.
An impressively strong statement on the government's part.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:21 PM on September 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

On the way out, I glance in one of the stacked cardboard boxes nearest to the door. It’s filled to the top with strings of ivory beads. Each is carved into a skull, because that is how metaphors work. I hit my limit.

This was a really good read. Thanks Joe.
posted by SLC Mom at 2:12 AM on September 18, 2016 [4 favorites]

Regarding a rhino trophy head that was shot in a "legal" hunt but then mutilated en route ...any animal trophy you import legally must be intact to prove it wasn’t murdered for profit

It's hard to believe we don't have the political will to ban outright the importation of endangered animal trophies. The power shift towards the wealthier classes that's happened since the start of the 80s continues to impress and distress me.
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:35 AM on September 18, 2016 [5 favorites]

posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:08 AM on September 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I like the part where we have an official policy to stop the killing of rare species by people in third world countries who have a financial motive and then don't even try to stop rich people who do it for fun.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:21 AM on September 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

I know, regulated hunting supports conservation efforts, but that's kind of like saying why not sell all the intercepted ivory to support conservation efforts?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:38 AM on September 18, 2016

posted by ainsley at 10:05 AM on September 18, 2016

And what's to keep people from legally importing their 'trophies' and then mutilating them? Are they just such honest and upstanding citizens that they would never do such a thing? Is that it? They're just normal, decent, law abiding people who kill animals in order to display their preserved corpses for amusement?

Anyway, these right here are the raptor rehabilitators he was hoping to find.
posted by ernielundquist at 10:12 AM on September 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's a bit creepy that they have these trophies hung around the building as trophies. Like, the tiger skins on the wall in the same way they might have been hung by the person who illegally imported them in the first place.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:25 PM on September 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

In some airports, including the Denver airport, there are plexiglass display cases of items like this that were seized by customs authorities. There, as in the article, there's a feeling of incredible tacky futility in the objects as contrasted with an actual living animal. Just in case you ever want to take some time between flights to contemplate why exactly you would want to own a token of the death of a rare and elderly sea turtle.
posted by ostro at 2:37 PM on September 18, 2016

posted by limeonaire at 3:56 PM on September 18, 2016

... and then don't even try to stop rich people who do it for fun.

Let's just be thankful the rich are still only hunting animals for sport.
posted by um at 9:10 PM on September 18, 2016

Let's just be thankful the rich are still only hunting animals for sport

Most of these animals are near extinction. When they go extinct, several million years of evolutionary work hard won through the deaths of untold individual numbers of that species will be completely lost, forever.

If I could snap my fingers and have rich people hunt poachers for fun, I would do it in a second. There is no danger of poachers going extinct.

What a brutal read. Thanks for a great post.
posted by benzenedream at 12:56 AM on September 19, 2016

I actually have some sympathy for the poachers. A lot of the time, they are people living in places where Western imperialism and the rise of the cash economy have made traditional ways of life untenable while simultaneously failing to provide any meaningful way for disrupted people to support themselves and their families within the new system. These people, who often come from subsistence hunting backgrounds, are frequently struggling to pay for things like food and housing, medical care for their children, and education so that the next generation can have a shot at making it in the new economy—needs with which most of us here are familiar and which could easily have been provided within traditional systems just a generation ago, but which are now prohibitively expensive under the new economic regime.

The payments for things like elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn are frequently miniscule compared to the retail value (there is a huge chain of organized criminals processing this stuff and getting it to market, and that's where almost all the money is made) but can nevertheless be absolutely life-changing for the poachers. Would you kill an elephant if it meant your kid could go to school? Would you kill a rhinocerous to avoid having your family evicted? Would you kill a tiger to raise money for the treatment of your child's otherwise-terminal illness? For a lot of people it's not even a choice. Family comes first.

It's a lot more complicated than "poachers are scum who deserve to be hunted like the animals that they kill." We have to be able to see and understand that complexity if we're ever going to solve this problem.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:32 AM on September 20, 2016

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