Animals on the endangered species list are not only dying because their habitats are being destroyed?they're also being eaten, as bushmeat. Five million tons of bushmeat come from the Congo basin alone every year, threatening several species, including elephants and great apes. A lot of it is exported to Africans living abroad.
In bbcnews.com, Alex Kirby quotes Adam Matthews, director of the Bushmeat Campaign, as saying, "[A] study said 150 million people?one in eight of the world's poor?depend on wildlife for both protein and income."
For elephants, the trade in ivory is also a problem. The illegal ivory trade is flourishing in Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Senegal. The World Wildlife fund believes that gangs in central Africa slaughter the animals, then ship it to these countries to be sold.
Ivory Coast banned trade in ivory in 1997, and it's also against the law in Senegal and Nigeria, but it can be seen on public display in all three countries. Investigators in these countries found ivory that came from the tusks of at least 760 elephants available in stores, although there are no more than 540 elephants left in the 3 countries combined.
Unlike bushmeat, it's outsiders who are the problem when it comes to ivory. The main buyers are tourists, businessmen and diplomats from Europe, Asia and the U.S.
If we knew how close to one another we really are, we would respect other people?and other creatures?more.
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