Poaching Wars with Tom Hardy Review

Posted on August 29, 2013

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Poaching Wars – Part One

Poaching Wars with Tom Hardy

Picture courtesy of http://www.theguardian.com

I knew that this was going to be disturbing to watch as soon as I saw the advertisements for it.

Opening with scenes of an Elephant and her calf half dead and us being told that they were trying to escape when they were killed was very sad.

When you think of poaching in South Africa, you think of either the rich going on a jolly boys outing to hunt and go home with trophies, or the other side where the local native people are forced to hunt to stay alive because their government isn’t doing enough to help them. But what happens when in ten years, the Rhino is wiped out because of their ignorance, greed and desperation?

Apparently it’s not just these two groups either that hunt them, but many from across the world turn up in organised groups to make money or just to hunt for the fun of it. The Asian market doesn’t help when they use tusks and horn for so-called medicine. It sickens me.

Twenty blue swallows left at the time this was filmed? How many more are there left, if any at all?

There are those though that do all they can to protect them, from both sides of the divide and it’s those that are hero’s for they risk life and limb doing so. Such a place as this is the Kruger National Park where a few have semi-automatic guns defend themselves and the animals from these vermin poachers.

Over two years, a thousand Rhino’s were killed in the Kruger National Park area and the horn can fetch $100,000 for each animal. I say Dollars but it probably was Rand as it never actually said. Cameroon, Chad, Mozambique are all places that hunt and kill without remorse or a thought for the future at what they are doing.

There was a scene where an investigative award-winning reporter, Julian Radameyer, showing footage of a hunt and the animal; the Rhino was crying in agony, a heartbreakingly sad mewing sound. The men were just smiling and laughing all around. They employ a syndicate, professional hunters, to pretend to be organised legal hunters but in reality they are ruthless killers seeking wealth on the black market. They’re huge organised criminal gangs.

The only way around it is like anything really and that’s by education. Sadly though money rules and very few want that chance to help the Rhino or the Elephant and for them the future looks bleak unless the governments of these countries get very tough.

Part Two

So the second part begins with our intrepid Tom Hardy trying to understand poaching and how far it stretches around the world. The Ivory trade was banned in 1989 but is as strong as ever.

Starting in Botswana in a stores where hundreds of tusks from dead Elephants stay behind lock and key, worth millions to the illegal Ivory trade, mainly China. A hundred elephants a year are killed in Botswana and for the past two years poaching has increased to a frightening and disturbing level. The Minister of Wildlife and Tourism is doing all he can to stop the poachers from their evil trade by trying to take ivory off the world market altogether. He has a hard task ahead of him.

Once again, it’s all about money, the root of all evil as they say but sometimes with it, much good can be done where conservation and education are needed.

All the poachers have to do to find their prey is to follow the river where the elephant’s head to each year. The elephants go there through memory and blind faith and the poachers lie in wait armed to the teeth for their ‘prize.’

They shoot, kill and de-tusk in around twenty minutes or so and move on to the next one. Some of the poachers are ex-military and very well equipped but so are the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) that help protect the Elephants; some of which are ex-special forces. Seeing them as they search for the poachers, you really are reminded that it is a war to save the species.

The poachers even use poison; one kill suspected Anthrax used against the majestic Elephant and go back later to collect the tusks if the BDF haven’t collected them first. Botswana has the money and the political willpower to help unlike Mozambique.

In Mozambique, one of the poorest and war-torn countries on earth, the battle against the poachers is a different story altogether.

The current rate of poaching will wipe out the Elephant in five years in Mozambique.

Tom Hardy with Fitz in Tanzania

Tom Hardy with Fitz in Tanzania. Picture courtesy of http://www.fanpop.com

Over in Tanzania, famous for the Born Free foundation, a man named Fitz, who worked with John Adams many years previously, has sadly had to put fences up to protect the Rhino’s and Elephants. He has four thousand hectares to protect and is helped again by ex-military personnel.

Fitz feels like he is winning in part but knows he may be fighting a losing battle. China has an ever-growing business empire in Africa which is the main threat but lets not forget it was the West that helped start the poaching in modern times.

Like many animals, maybe one day they will not be seen alive again in the wild. Only in zoos and in pictures and television. Something serious has to be done to help them before it’s too late.

In the 1930s there were believed to be nearly five million Elephants free to roam in Africa but today their total number is thought to be less than half a million. That was around eighty years ago. In eighty years they will be just a memory only unless the poachers are stopped.

For more information please head to the following sites, just some of the many available:

http://www.tom-hardy.co.uk/
http://conservationbiology.net/
http://www.elephantconservation.org/
http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/index.asp
http://worldwildlife.org/

You can watch it at the following link for the next 22 days from today:

https://www.itv.com/itvplayer/poaching-wars-with-tom-hardy/series-1/episode-1

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