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    African Problem-Solving

    July 31, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    One cannot go visit a zoo or aquarium anymore without being inundated by certain political messages. A particular message that was repeated to us throughout the Big Trip was, “Poaching is bad.”

    Variations on this theme were repeated constantly {in each animal park}. We were often informed that such-and-such an animal was endangered and that there were “less than 1000” left in “The Wild.” I find it fascinating that these zookeepers have actually been to every square inch of creation and verified that, in fact, there are truly less than 1000 of a certain animal left!


    Annihilating a Species is Bad

    Though I believe that humans have the right to kill animals and eat them and use other parts of them to make tools or clothing {I once inherited a very lovely leopard coat, by the way}, it is inappropriate to annihilate a species.

    We Americans tend to romanticize tribal cultures as some sort of simpler, “back-to-nature” sort of existence. But all cultures are not created equal. I have mentioned before that it is my conviction that a culture is “good” to the extent that it reflects God’s vision for society. Each culture will have details where they vary {musical styles, dress, overall personality, etc.}, but God has given instructions to which each culture is obligated to conform.

    When one studies Genesis, especially the first four chapters, one sees that God did not begin history with what we typically think of as a tribal culture. The description was more one of gardening/farming than anything else. It was not until after the Deluge {during which God chose a family to preserve not only humanity but animal life as well} that man was specifically given meat to eat. At that time, God put the fear of man into the animals {Genesis 9:2-5}. I presume that putting fear into the animals was a way of making sure that man did not obliterate them. It is, after all, quite simple to butcher a domesticated animal.

    As early as Genesis 4 is the idea of a man having a flock mentioned. When one puts together the idea of tending a flock of sheep with the gardening and cultivation of the land mentioned in the prior three chapters of the book, the picture is one of sustainable food sources.

    Man is not called to be a locust upon the earth, consuming whatever is before him and leaving a path of destruction behind. And yet, this is precisely the lifestyle of some tribal cultures {including some past Native American cultures}. The tribes hunt until there are no more animals to eat. They migrate and “gather” food much in the way an elephant does {an elephant herd, we learned, can destroy an entire forest in a short amount of time}–until there is nothing left.


    The Problem of Africa

    It is hard to isolate the various problems of Africa, because many of them stem from a refusal to bow the knee to the Creator. The area of poaching is just such a problem. The poachers see potential value in the animals–their skins, their tusks, their meat {for food known as Bushmeat}. But they do not follow the Creator’s guide. They do not cultivate the ground and tend a herd. They kill and kill until the population drops into what many call the “endangered” level.

    So then the government, often pressured by Americans, steps in to “save the animals.” And we were astounded by the “most effective” way they have done this. We were told this by a tour guide, and I am assuming this is true. Some African governments hire poachers, arm them, and pay them to kill other poachers. That’s right. Africa has chosen not to elevate man back to his position of steward of the land and life, but rather turn him on himself. And now there is a situation where a dead poacher is more valuable than a dead animal.

    Problem solved, in the opinion of Africa. And the San Diego Zoological Society seems to also accept this solution. After all, they exist not to put creation back together again, but to preserve animals in the name of preserving animals. So, San Diego breeds endangered animals, ships them back to Africa, repopulates their land with fresh meat, and accepts the idea that the animals won’t be killed, but the hunters will be.

    And they believe all is right with the world, when it is in fact turned upon its very head.


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