After numerous attempts, I have finally done something that could possible influence people.
I did heavy research on the wildlife trade, and what really goes on in the trade. I have figured out that the market is huge, and that it is a very popular market.
The underground illegal market (including animal items such as rhino horns), according to ‘‘Invisible’’ wildlife trades: Southeast Asia’s undocumented illegal trade in wild ornamental plants by J. Phelps and Edward L. Webb, now has become nearly “invisible”, meaning it has been hard to detect evidence of trades without heavy researching (Phelps, Webb., 296). Phelps and Webb mention that there had been under-reporting and non-reporting of illegal products, which contributed to the “invisibility”. After third-party monitoring and research efforts, apparently there are illegal trades “such as the South Korean market-based trade of whale meat (Baker et al., 2007), and bushmeat trade from Africa into Europe via air” (297). The most surprising conclusion to come from this research, is that the market is alive and running. And also the size of the wildlife trade market is enormous. The article THE ORGANIZATION OF THE ILLEGAL TIGER PARTS TRADE IN CHINA by Rebecca W.Y. Wong, notifies the alarming numbers: “[t]he global illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth US$ 20 billion per annum, ranking second behind the illegal narcotics trade (Wyler and Sheikh 2008; 2013).” Agreeably, 20 billion is not a small number.
And the trade items include tiger heads, which is used for decoration and accessories. In China tigers are symbols of strength and power and it is crucial in China’s tradition (1). They are often used for aesthetic decorations, and also are used as “traditional medicine” (Leung and Cheng 2003; Maciocia 2004)” (1). This wildlife trade is embedded in their lifestyles, and the citizens that partake in the trade do not have any problems persisting slaughter of threatened animals. Thus, by observing Leung, Cheng, and Wong’s research of China, it may be nearly improbable to put a halt to illegal wildlife trade. Now in China, “criminal networks” exist in order to be participants of the illegal trade (3). Criminals utilize reputation by having trust as a commodity, serving the adequate demand (4). And by analyzing these criminals who earn power by serving demands of wildlife, chances for reducing illegal trade become slimmer and slimmer.
Furthermore, there are consequences when these activities prolong. When China continues its wildlife trade in the industry, the number of wildlife animal dwindles. There are only 3,890 tigers in the wild today (World Wildlife Fund 2015), and they are in danger of extinction. Similarly, in Racing Extinction, (a documentary discussing the issues of the planet, environment damage) when it covered the black market in Hong Kong and other places in the world, there were tiger heads on the shelves, packed in rows. The recent coverage of this footage, proves the very fact that the trade of endangered animals takes place in the current.
What I decided to do, is create illustrations of endangered animals, but in the reverse. I have drawn human figures as animals. I wanted people to feel that killing an animal’s life, is still killing a life. They need to realize how serious the issue is, and people need to stop poaching.
I have made an instagram account to post my photos. It is called saveanimalsgg. Although this media can be very limiting, I think that social media can have a big impact.