Christian Long

Juliana Machado Ferreira: The Fight to End Rare-animal Trafficking in Brazil

In TED Talks on April 11, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Reflection by CARL K.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Juliana Machado Ferreira: The Fight to End Rare-animal Trafficking in Brazil

In response to Julian’s speech on the over trafficking of rare-animals in Brazil, I found it sad and awful, as I would assume most people would as well.

In Brazil, it is estimated that every year, about 38 million animals are forced out of there homes to be sold in an illegal business worth an estimated 2 billion dollars. Now, the trafficking and smuggling of animals itself really isn’t all that surprising to me (although I will admit that number of animals being taken each year was quite shocking), its just like any underground commercial trade in the black market. But what touched me was the fact of how serious the consequences are on all the animals. Not many people realize what it was like for those poor animals. Most people only see what is plainly obvious in in the big scheme of things: the smugglers go out and capture these rare-animals, then they sell/try to sell the captured animals in the black market or to local pet stores, then the police comes in and arrests whoever took part in this criminal trade, and everyone sees what has been done and celebrates that the animals are going to safe place, while the smugglers are driven off to prison.

And all the poor animals and lives happily ever after…. Or do they?

As a matter of fact, the answer is NO.

So, after the police seizes the cargo of animals, from the traffickers, what happens next? Well, the Brazilian government steps in and takes the abused animals to a facilities for triage, and which in most cases the environment in which the animals are put in, are almost or just as bad as they were with the traffickers. And given the circumstances that they have now been placed in, many of them don’t survive in with the governmental care all that long. However, the lucky ones are taken into serious rehabilitation centers after that, in which the animals are cared for properly now. In these places, I’ll use birds as the example, the birds’ flying are trained, they learn how to identify the natural foods they would normally eat, and how to socialize/mate with other birds, of the same species. This seems all good and everything will be alright for the animals, but sadly not really.

In her speech, Juliana mentioned that the government claims that they Juliana and her colleagues have spent too many resources on the rehabilitation centers, and that the animals have too little knowledge of the enivronment and is risky to release back into the wild. And so, government proposes that the best way to handle the situation, is to simply euthanize them. So, as she was speaking about all of this, all I could really think about is why is the government rescuing these rare-animals, then just turning around and, basically, killing them off, because it’s “too risky” to release them. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. I’d say that they’re just as bad as the smugglers by choosing to put these animals to sleep. The government says that Juliana and them have spent too much time in rehabilitating them, and the animals still don’t have the knowledge to survive out in the wild. I’m arguing that the government is being illogical because they haven’t given Juliana and her team the time to actually try and see how the animals respond once they are put back into their natural habitat. By killing these rare-animals, not only are the taking away the chance for them to readapt, but they are a serious threat to endangering the animal species. Which is HORRIBLE!

Luckily, Juliana and her colleagues believe that there is an alternate solution. If, and when, a certain criteria has been reached, by the animal such as: their health, behavior, inferred origin, and population in nature, then a responsible releases can happen. And meeting this criteria, not only does this help the individual anima itself, but this plan also helps in conserving the species. And let’s be honest with ourselves, do we really want to see another species go extinct? Beside that point, by going through this plan, Juliana sees that we help in returning genes that help can help the species when facing environmental challenges or dangers, in which she has shown examples of in her video. In all, like Juliana said, this idea is working, but it’s still not widely accepted as it should be.

So, as my final comment, I would like to reiterate what Juliana said.  We need to help spread this idea, “shed light on it,” tell your family and friends about it.

We need to act now, before its too late.

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