Friday, March 26, 2010

Lioness kills cub thief


As readers of this blog know well I am interested in the human x wildlife conflict, in all its forms, but particularly in Africa, my birth continent. In The Trouble With Lions I had chapters headed Lions In Trouble and Lions As Trouble. There is a third category that I had not thought of until today, when I received an email from the folks who run the Official Web site of the Virunga National Park, DR Congo, which most often posts material about the gorillas of that troubled region.

A soldier in Congo's Virunga National Park has been killed a lioness, after reportedly trying to steal 2 of her cubs. Another soldier was injured in the incident.

Surely a tragedy for the men’s families, but WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

It occurs to me that there is a fair chance that these men came under the influence of an organized crime group. We know, from several reports, that organized crime in the wildlife field is on the upsurge world-wide. What price would some oriental billionaire with more money than he knows what to do with, and no semblance of a conscience, pay for a couple of ultimate status symbols? Of course the soldiers would have been offered a reward for their "work". A pittance for the crime boss, maybe a decent sum for the soldiers.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a chapter title that would cover this incident?


Joe said...

How crazy. I really struggle morally with this kind of thing. What drives people to do this? Is it greed or real desperation? Obviously no one situation is the same - What do we do, what can we do? Anything?

Jerry Haigh said...

Hey Joe,
You've asked the right questions. For some it would be desperation, although maybe not an attempt to to steal lion cubs. Greed, probably. We don't learn much about the soldiers who tried this feat, but they will presumably have been on some sort of salary or wages. Maybe they had not been paid for a time, maybe the "inducement" offered by the middleman was too tempting.

What can we do? Difficult. More publicity, share the stories, (not just lions, but all the wildlife, from anywhere on earth). It depends. Do you want your grandkids, and their grandkids, to see lions or rhinos in real life or merely on some amazing screen in the "Life" type documentary?