Last night I entertained myself reading an article on Listverse about 10 interesting facts regarding HIV and found quite a lot of useful information that brings me to address a very important topic today.
Nobody really knows how it all actually started but some scientists agree that HIV appeared around 1931 and as a consequence of the tribes consuming “bushmeat”.
Now, do you know what this term stands for? Have you ever eaten it yourself or anybody you know? Do you know how it’s related to endangered species?
In few words, bushmeat is the meat from wild (and in some cases endangered) animals hunted mainly in Africa and Asia. Bushmeat trade is the sale of certain endangered species for their meat or other purposes. This also has collateral effects; the killing of a chimpanzee, for example, will also mean the orphaned apes will most likely fail to survive.
Many animals are directly affected by this: tigers, rhinos, elephants, apes, seals, dolphins, whales, etc. These species can easily become extinct and consequently break the ecosystem chain and that wouldn't be good news for humans either.
I’m a very sensitive person so it was a true challenge for me to do my research as the internet is an open window for images and videos of the sad practice of poaching. However, I refuse to close my eyes just because it is hard to look and I want you to do the same and to make you aware of what’s happening out there, especially if you live in a country where bushmeat is not consumed and therefore there is a lack of information related to this.
There are several organisations such as the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force that try to eliminate the illegal commercial bushmeat trade and a number of programmes to get involved with if you have the will to volunteer for this cause so if you are concerned about it, do your research and see how you can take part. One of the best examples is the story of Jane Goodall and her 45 year study on wild chimpanzees in Tanzania and you can take a peek at her mission here. She’s a truly inspiring woman. By the way, she didn't bear a university degree when she first travelled to Africa so having qualifications is not essential if you want to support a cause.
A few good organisations on this subject are World Wildlife Fund, International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Wildlife Conservation Society. Here is some general information about Africa if you want to learn more about the numerous problems this continent is facing.
If you're keen to do some fundraising and save for an awesome expedition to help animals, click here for some ideas. Be aware that going on such trips isn't cheap as you'll be following a programme, will have staff coordination and support, accommodation and training. However, I'm pretty sure it'll be an experience to remember so you might want to start saving for this rather than a trip to Las Vegas for example :)
If you don’t have the chance to travel, you can also help by spreading the world to raise public awareness within your community. The 3 steps to promote any cause are: to EDUCATE yourself and your peers, to SHARE what you learn with everybody you know and to ENCOURAGE others to take action. Anything can be done with determination and will!
Let’s work together to respect and protect animals as they deserve to live just as much as we do - even if they cannot turn around at you and say "Thank you for saving my life".