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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Elephant Ranch Revisited

Ivory that was confiscated in Singapore in 2002 and returned to Kenya was burned during the first African Elephant Law Enforcement Celebrations held on July 20, 2011 at Kenya Wildlife Services Field Training School at Manyani, Kenya. (Steve Njumbi / IFAW)
We watched an episode of Blacklist last night, number 206 I believe. Peter Fonda (I haven't seen him since forever) plays the magnanimous head of global conservation organization, but because this is Blacklist, he is also secretly the head of global cartel that deals in exotic and endangered animals and their parts. His explanation for this apparent contradiction is evil, and logical. There is demand for these products, both live animals and products made from them. You are not going to stop the demand, and with the way that people are and the way the world works, someone is going to find a way to fill that demand. So he is exploiting the situation to his advantage, and possibly the animals. He is doing this by eliminating all of his competition thereby gaining a monopoly in his market. The world creates the demand, and he controls the supply, and since he is a businessman he is making sure that no one threatens his supply.

This sounds suspiciously like my plan for an Elephant Ranch. I don't know how much that ivory in the picture above would have been worth on the market, black or white, but it seems likely that it could have paid the salaries of an anti-poaching patrol for a while.

Spoiler (well, sort of, you only need to watch a couple of episodes to know how this one is going to turn out): Red isn't happy with Peter, though if I got the story right, it was not because of his animal exploitation scheme, but because of the ruthless methods of his nominal 'employees'.

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