By Dominick Mezzapesa - Wildlife Planet News
If you read the headline and think I am shocked... Then SHAME on you for not visiting Wildlife Planet more often.
The last thing you would ever suspect is me being shocked that an animal is killed for some part of their body that China, Japan, Vietnam or South Korea wants to eat, drink, snort, display, pray over or just plain, grind it into powder and shove up their butts.
If you have a pulse, then these 4 along with other Southeast Asian countries will want to chop you up and pretend you cure something.
Hippos are the latest fad. Being forward thinkers that they are, China knows there are only so many elephants left in the room, so lets just kill the fat guys... They eat too much anyway.
The fat guys are of course our lovable, Bi-polar, grumpy pals the Hippo's.
Recently in Uganda under cover Investigators posing as buyers lured two Hippo tooth selling morons to a lodge near Buliisa, a town in western Uganda.
The two men arrived by motorbike with the contraband concealed inside a nylon sack. Inside the sack contained 234 pieces of hippopotamus teeth, taken from as many as 58 illegally killed hippos. The two doucebags were arrested. Myself, I would have called a dentist and see how they liked their teeth pulled out, of course, unlike the Hippos these two would still be alive, but we can't have everything in life.
Ugandan authorities said the men were selling the contraband to agents of international buyers and that the teeth were destined for OMG! Say it ain't so... Asia, where hippo ivory is carved into ornaments.
The poachers who killed the hippos remain at large, and it is not known who the buyers are that control the trade area.
“We have not arrested the real kingpins—we’ve mainly arrested Ugandans who don’t even know the traders because it is a chain,” says Charles Tumwesigye, deputy director of conservation with the Uganda Wildlife Authority. He says it’s probable that elephant ivory traders are also involved in smuggling hippo ivory because it’s used in similar ways but is cheaper.
With Hippo numbers falling at a dramatic rate, in 2014 Uganda,banned the trade in hippo teeth, which had been legal. But the wildlife authority says that since the ban the flow of hippo ivory to international markets has continued, much of it goes to Hong Kong, as was the case when the trade was legal.
It is kind of ironic that in the picture above some low brow European wanted and bought an illegally poached Hippo tooth that has a sculpture of other endangered animals on it, who are on the path to extinction because their being slaughtered for idiots who can afford it. I assume the buyer believes these animals are majestic and beautiful so he thought "What the hell, lets kill one so I can show the world how much I love them." Their logic is mind-boggeling!
So far in 2016, investigators have seized nearly 900 pounds of hippo ivory—a fraction of the total suspected illegal trade in Uganda that makes it's way to Southeast Asia.
Records of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) show that between 2004 and 2014 Hong Kong reported importing almost 60 tons of teeth from wild hippos in Africa for commercial purposes—nearly half from Uganda.
If you don't know how we feel about CITES the SHAME on you for not visiting Wildlife Planet more often.
CITES is the worst, most curropt wildlife organization out there, followed by the WWF. They have as much power as someone trying to put a beat down on you with a wet noodle.
If only their rhetoric could match their actions, then we would have an organization that actually accomplishes something other than agreements that double as toilet paper. More on these fools later.
Hippo carvings are popular partly because they are a poor mans ivory. Carvings sell for between $50 and $500 which is far below the tens of thousands of dollars needed to buy an Elephant Ivory of similar size, records have indicated that many customers who demand this type of art are in Europe.
During the past decade, thousands of hippo ivory carvings have been exported legally from Hong Kong to France, Belgium, Spain, and Italy. Europeans, Leung said, “like carved animals and people—samurai warrior.”
Hippo ivory is “beautiful, durable, workable,” says one ivory trader in the state of Washington, who legally imports hippo teeth from Tanzania. (He asked not to be identified for fear of harassment by ivory opponents.) He said he sells hippo teeth both in their natural state and carved as razor handles. “A few people still like to have something from nature that is real, made by God,” he said.
The way the CITES trade agreement/toilet paper trade works is that each country sets its own export quota, which, based on scientific studies, must be at levels that will not harm the species. The country and CITES are jointly responsible for monitoring trade, but, Kat points out, this system has failed vulnerable species in the past. The African gray parrot, for example.
“The legal trade has been a machine that has mined African wildlife species without any proper controls,” Kat argues. “Far too late what we have seen is CITES and other organizations belatedly put in place controls that are completely ignored by China, South Korea, Japan and Vietnam.
The scary fact is, no one even knows how many hippos there are these days in Africa. I am sure at the next CITES meeting they will give our lovably, lumpy friends, some needed lip service and tell us how they NOW have the toughest wildlife trade agreement in place, and then ask for more donations because CITES is doing such a kick ass job in protecting our wildlife.