Colonisation and wildlife: Part One

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THE world map we see today is a recent fabrication of that of the old world which depicted southern Africa as the top of the known world.
Moorish maps drawn up by the likes of Al Idrisi all showed the continent of Africa (Al Kabelon) above Asia.
It clearly resembled a landing bird with southern Africa as its buzzing wings, Somalia its beak, Israel its feet and West Africa its back.
These ancient world maps, which today would be misconstrued as being up-side-down, could date back to the biblical times. Isaiah 18 referred to the lands beyond the Nile (southern Africa) as the land of buzzing wings.
The maps were turned up-side down in the mid 1500s as a measure to empower the European landscape and hide empowering truths of the old world.
Antarctica is at the top of the world and is inhabited by penguins and other migratory sea creatures.
Beneath it is southern Africa, the topmost habitable place on the earth for humans.
Therein is all sorts of plants, humans and wildlife which treads across the sub-Saharan African. Beyond this point and towards the northern hemisphere, the grazing lands are limited and thus the animal population decreases.
Wildlife almost comparable to that of sub-Saharan Africa in terms of size and population can be found in places like India, that are adjacent to it.
Otherwise, further north, the beasts are fewer, smaller and often, only well-adapted species such as hibernators like bears.
Elephants, crocodiles and lions have never shown signs of wanting to venture north because they live off grazing and/or grazers and browsers.
These wholly rely on the substantial heat and rain of sub-Saharan Africa.
Alaska is almost completely shadowed from the sun. Considering the far North’s alienation from the sun, Europe and Alaska constitute the bottom of the world.
These are wastelands where only wolves, bears and well-acclimatised tigers are found. It is in Africa that life of all forms began and continues to flourish, thus it was aptly named the motherland.
Wildlife and every other creature on earth has a right to cohabit on earth.
This is what was known by the Africans of old who were custodians of this blessed land. Animals were only killed for the sake of eating, through slaughtering livestock or hunting.
The peaceful co-habitation of humans and animals in Africa and other adjacent lands like India and South America would be disturbed by the coming of European colonisers.
Europeans lived in desolate cold lands beyond the Caucasus mountains for generations – lands where grazers like antelope prefer not to go.
Thus, Europeans survived on rye bread and porridge for the most part.
They would eat any animal they came across and would even resort to cannibalism if times were tough.
This savagery extended to relatively recent times and acts of cannibalism were recorded during the Crusade period.
The coming of the Europeans to Africa would not only wreak havoc on the indigenous human population but also plant and wildlife.
The parasitic nature of the settlers is based solely on the desolateness of Europe.
When they find something of use, they wish to monopolise its source so as to acquire it for their whole population.
This upsets ecosystems and only succeeds at the cost of the indigenous human and animal family.
For example, before the Europeans entered the Americas, the land was full of bison and mink.
After the Europeans found use for their fur, both bison and mink were over-hunted and are now facing extinction.
In Africa, since the Europeans and, recently, the East Asians entered, an increase in elephant and rhino killings has been recorded.
Such large beasts are being poisoned with cyanide or shot to death just because some poachers find their tusks and horns profitable.
That is outrageous!
Now the white rhino, which thrived in Africa, is at risk of extinction and the population of elephants is fast decreasing.
If the population of wildlife in Africa is under threat, there is no other place on earth that can substitute animals such as elephants and lions.
In Asia, the elephants shrunk in size over time because the climatic conditions, though similar, are not the same as those in Africa.
Some lions did cross over to Asia in ancient times, but just as the people of Asia, they adapted to their new climate and became tigers.
The crocodile also crossed to Asia but lost its size and even assumed a smaller mouth more suited to eating smaller creatures like fish.
This shows that African animals are, to an extent, not renewable. African elephants, for instance, are remnants of archaic dinosaur-age creatures such as the mammoth.
Yet poaching persists and governments only go as far as arresting and persecuting small time offenders with prison sentences that reach up to 70 years.
The culprits are usually opportunistic villagers used as spotters. Arresting them has very little impact on decreasing the supply or demand of the required animal parts.
Instead, African governments should go after the foreign corporations and governments behind the trade of ivory, rhino horns, animal skins and trophies among others.
Upon further investigation, it becomes obvious that the trade of restricted goods which promotes poaching cannot be successful without some corrupt individuals pulling strings at government level. This can be seen by the type of chemicals, weapons and technology used by the poachers and the way they escape persecution, even when apprehended.
Chemicals like cyanide have, in some cases, spilt into water sources shared by humans and people have lost their lives as a result.
It is in all our interests that we stand firmly against the killing of our neighbours, the animals.
Our culture restricts us from chopping living trees, killing pythons, eating or abusing the animals of one’s totem and so on. This shows that our ancestors recognised the need for humans to live in an eco-friendly manner.
Even in this era, we have elders in Mozambique saying they no longer see certain types of fish they used to and the sizes of those that remain are much smaller, only to find that Chinese poachers have been overfishing the Indian Ocean, a distance away from the coast.
The role of protecting the animals we cohabit with should be taken at all levels; individual, village, Government and regional.
Investment must be made to match the technology and weapons that the poachers use.
The Chinese have helicopters, speed boats and armed ships monitoring their coasts and activities at sea.
These are aided by radars and satellite which are key tools in spotting any suspicious activities.
The Chinese also have a totem-like relationship with the tiger and each individual is told to report any poaching or trade of tiger fur he/she may witness.
Celebrities such as Jackie Chan and Yao Ming have made commercials against the poaching of tigers.
Besides this, there is a long prison sentence and heavy fine if one is associated in anyway with this illegal trade.
Such an environment is altogether tiger-protected and poachers will be fearful of carrying out their activities there.

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