Here is some delightful news that I think most people will appreciate: little four-year-old gorillas are outsmarting local poachers in Rwanda, cleverly taking apart their traps and avoiding them altogether. If this sends any kind of message to the world, shouldn’t it be that if these animals are this clever, they shouldn’t ever be targeted for bushmeat in the first place?
Yes, it’s horrible that poaching exists—but I get the desperation behind it. What outrages me even more is that there are rich people who devalue life so much that they’re willing to spend their millions on a new gorilla hand-ashtray, or a gorilla head trophy. This is only one step, perhaps less, than having the same items designed from human hide—perhaps that is the route we are going when we have people so blasé about such carnage that they’re willing to invite it into their own homes as “conversation pieces.” What, exactly, do they think that this behavior is teaching their children? Do you honestly consider yourself “civilized,” cultured, by displaying the limbs of our relatives in your living room?
The killing of gorillas, of our primate cousins, must stop. I wish these clever young gorillas luck in dismantling further traps—and if they’re out-evolving us, so be it. Hopefully they’ll be more merciful than we’ve been.