South Africans are very quick to blame Asian buyers for the flourishing trade in rhino horns and elephant tusks, but demand for illegal wildlife products is equally strong back home. A video, released to Traveller24, reveals the sickening reality that all types of wild animals – many of them endangered – are sought after in the domestic market. The heart-wrenching exposé by an undercover “shopper” shows rows and rows of skins of leopards, cheetah, lion and other animals. Also spotted at the market, a popular source of traditional “medicine”, were chimp hands, pangolin, and other animal parts. While the activities at the market will send a chill down the spines of environmentalists, the fact that this wildlife shoppers’ paradise is public and accessible raises questions as to how it is that South Africa’s conservationists and policing agencies haven’t taken action. The responses from various animal rights organisations and environmental agencies are generally pathetic, indicating at best lethargy and incompetence when it comes to securing one of South Africa’s most precious natural resources. If we keep raiding the larder, the country will soon look like most of the rest of the world – where rare beasts have been wiped out, leaving only a few examples of species at zoos and on display in dusty museums. – Jackie Cameron
This 5-minute raw footage taken at the Faraday Muti market, in Selby, Johannesburg shows skins and animal parts of endangered species from cheetah, leopard, lion, chimp hands, hyena, pangolin, vulture.
Illegal Wildlife Products: ‘We Rely On The Public To Lodge A Complaint’
By Selene Brophy