Poaching and Habitat Loss Rates Soar in COVID-19 lockdown

The decrease of wildlife tourism led to a surge in poaching. Lockdown helped many animals, but those animals were primarily common, non-threatened animals, which live in abundance. For the most part, however, animals lost their habitats in large swathes as governments quietly gave clearance to mining and other industrial projects.

In Asia

  • The Indian MoEFCC discussed and gave clearance to around 30 industrial projects in biodiverse forests during the COVID-19 lockdown. Some of the most important forests of India, Dehing Patkai and Dibang Valley were sold off for coal mining and for construction of a dam respectively. It also approved almost 180 forests, which even though have no rare wildlife, are important nonetheless.
    • In Maguri Beel, a lake in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, construction of a gas pipeline led to the oil-spill on the lake to catch fire. It killed several aquatic animals and many migratory birds.
    • A railway is being built through the western ghats by the Karnataka Government. Even though no panel or board gave clearance, the Karnataka Government manipulated the proposal and somehow gave itself permission to construct the track.
    • Most of the forests of central India have been auctioned to coal industries.
    • This is concerning as the minister of Environment, forests, and Climate Change, Mr Prakash Javadekar, is also the Minister of Heavy Industries.
  • In Cambodia, 3 of the 300 Giant Ibises were killed. Very little action was taken even after thorough investigation. This is a very concerning matter as the critically endangered bird is being given almost no protection in lockdown
  • In Thailand, captive elephants were left to starve to death as thousands of mahouts, caretakers and workers were sacked. In some parts, the elephants were shot down or killed to avoid the burden that comes with taking care of them.

In Africa

  • Poaching increased by almost 20% throughout Africa. The poaching hotspot is South Africa, from which lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants and giraffes are either poached or being smuggled into China.
    • Uganda’s beloved silverback gorilla Rafiki, a delight to tourists, was speared to death by four poachers. The four, have been arrested.
    • The death of Rafiki could mean that his group disintegrates due to the lack of a leader. This could create problems as this could lead to more deaths.
    • There are only about 1,000 mountain gorillas in the wild.
  • African animal meat and other parts are some of the most valuable in the black market. Thus poaching is a serious issue. With no tourists or rangers, lockdown has proved to be a bane for its animals.

In Europe

  • Many European countries, in response to the foreboding economic disaster created by the disease, plan to lower their environmental standards and do away with many regulations.
  • However, very few clearances have been given in the past 3 months.

In North and South America

  • Even though no clearance has been given, the US government watches Arizona forests burn. The Arizona Wildfires are now more destructive than ever. This lead the Tonto National Park being closed for the rest of the season due to fire danger.
  • US President Donald Trump removed the regulations which prevented hunters from killing babies and mothers of foxes and bears while sleeping. He also allowed hunters to bait animals.
    • Instead, hunting should have been banned. Hunting baby animals is despicable and inhumane, especially if they (the animals) are sleeping.
    • This step took US conservation history a notch lower than it already was.
    • Hunting baby animals could lead to a drastic population fall, and eventually extinction.
    • Sign the petition attached at the bottom of the post to stop this now.
    • South america has the ever-growing amazon logging going on in, mainly in Brazil under President Jair Bolsonaro. Read the article on Amazon logging attached next to the petition.

In Oceania

  • Australia has the same clearance rate that it had before lockdown. Even though the rate is high, it was always the same under the reigning government.
  • Poaching rates are also the same throughout Oceania.

Petition to stop Hunting of Baby animals

Featured Image: Photo by Delaney Van on Unsplash

The article on What really was and is going in the Amazon. Poachers, smugglers, and illegal trade is backed by the government to do away with the vast and biodiverse rainforests of the Amazon. The land can be given to Industries and mining companies after it is gone.  Environmentalists around the world have also started despising him, ever since Brazil’s space agency proved that forest fires have increased in the Amazon by a whopping 84% in his first year, and nothing has been done yet. They say, “Jair is encouraging logging networks and criminal organisations, which has caused the Amazon fires.â€? Yet, he told the UN, that the amazon remains pristine, and it has been virtually untouched.

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