The problem of illegal poaching has become an international matter. Countless animals have been decimated from these careless crimes and a plethora of wild animals have fallen victim to the deadly combination of ignorance and greed. This carnage was given a platform when Inside Edition posted a video of a Zimbabwe elephant who was shot in the head by poachers. Fortunately, the animal was able to survive the horrendous ordeal thanks to game stewards.
The wounded animal approached game stewards in a Zimbabwe national park. The bullet in the elephant’s head came from a high powered hunting rifle and missed his brain by mere centimeters. The stewards were able to sedate the elephant and render veterinary aid. Following an x-ray, the bullet was successfully removed, which saved the elephant’s life. The team who rescued him gave him the unique nickname of ‘Pretty Boy.” When the elephant recovered from the sedative, he stood up and walked a short distance before falling asleep against a tree. He is expected to make a full recovery.
Illegal poaching is a billion dollar market, mostly in Asia, and top prices are paid for animal parts to be used as medicinals and also for those who fancy themselves as “collectors.” Elephants are highly social animals, thus they are considered to obtain high economic value by poachers who execute them by the herd. Poachers will often remove the ivory tusks once the elephants are dead, leaving their corpses to rot.
A plethora of African countries have been working tirelessly with international law enforcement and conservation groups for over two decades with the hope of terminating the inhumane, barbaric trade. Elephants are not the only target of poachers. The African Black Rhino is a highly endangered species and only one male specimen in addition to a few females are known to still exist. Tigers are also the prey of those who erroneously believe that their body parts will provide cures for ailments such as impotence and cancer.
As of now, conservationists and international law enforcement are believed to be fighting a losing battle against the poachers who continue to execute animals at alarming rates.