With all the rabid dissent that’s flying about regarding that ridiculous lion killing dentist, you might be forgiven for thinking that most humans actually gave a shit whether individual species go extinct or not. In general, of course, that’s not the case. Humans have been battering creatures to death the length and breadth of the earth since we worked out how to use a club.
All Images VIA
Nowadays, in the West, we generally only slaughter delicious tasting animals that are abundant, but that’s not the case everywhere. The illegal trade in parts of rare animals is ever-present and in no danger of disappearing anytime soon. Poor people can make a handsome buck from a slither of rhino horn or a tiger flesh burger. And whilst the price is high, desperate people will kill.
It’s often the poverty-stricken poachers who get arrested and punished, but it’s the guys at the top of the chain of command who are the ones who need punishing. And, of course, the people who are buying powdered rhino horn in the hope it will fix their flaccid penis, at the other end of the chain.
Patrick Browne has been taking behind the scenes photos of this illegal trade throughout Asia for over a decade. His images are stark, depressing and very real. Here’s what Browne has to say about his ongoing Trading To Extinction project:
For years, I have traveled across Asia to document the devastating impact of wildlife trafficking. I’ve witnessed how our planet’s rarest creatures are being hunted, trapped and slaughtered to feed a global black market in wildlife products. This project is my attempt to expose that trade.
Investigating the trade in its depths is a shocking tale of cruelty, crime and human greed. As with drug trafficking, money fuels the animal trade. Its tentacles wrap around the world, from the remote forests of Asia to the trafficking hubs of Beijing, Bangkok, London, Tokyo and New York.
Unfortunately there’s still a long way to go. This trade is without any doubt flourishing. However, I finally begin to see a coordinated political fight-back. An extraordinary worldwide movement is bringing together people from diverse backgrounds in a bid to save our most endangered species before it is too late. I hope our efforts will not be in vain.
Click through the strangely haunting images via the slideshow arrows below:
Scotland Yard’s animal protection unit, a police officer displays a tiger’s head seized during a raid in London.