TBT: Albino Giraffes Poached

I’ve had animals on the brain lately, especially dogs.  Perhaps it’s my girlfriend’s sweet German shepherd puppy, or my parents’ photogenic rat terrier; regardless, I realize I am becoming a softy for critters.

Not just the furry, charismatic ones, either:  I’m considering adding a small frog garden to my existing flower beds, as I have a number of toads and frogs that take up residence in my beds and planters already.  Giving them a murky little pond to splash about in would be fun, and might help cut down on some bugs in the yard.

So it is that I’m looking back to this horrible story from March 2020, about the poaching of two rare albino giraffes in Kenya.  In the original piece, I make quite a few wild speculations about the nature of the poachers, even implicating the 50,000 Chinese immigrants to the country.

Given that The Virus originated, most likely, in a Wuhan virology lab—suggesting the Chinese were working on some kind of horrible biological weapon—I’d say mistrust in China’s motives is justified.  It’s also a very weird culture, as the wet markets proved.  The Chinese long believed rhinoceros horn to be an aphrodisiac; how far-fetched would it be to think they would believe something similar about the flesh of an albino giraffe?

For that matter, Africa is still a land filled with many folk beliefs and superstitions.  Albino humans in Tanzania, for example, are the targets of witch doctors, who harvest albinos’ body parts for use in their dark magicGavin McInnes frequently mentions the belief among some African tribes that bald men’s heads are filled with gold.  And there is the horrific practice of AIDS sufferers raping virgins—especially very young children—in the belief that doing so will cure their affliction.

These are terrible things—far more wicked and evil than the murder of two albino giraffes.  But how we treat God’s Creation, even in its lower orders, is a reflection of how we treat one another.  Animal mutilation and murder is a key sign of a future serial killer or sociopath.

With that depressing preamble, here is 24 March 2020’s “Albino Giraffes Poached“:

As if dancing plagues and Chinese viruses weren’t enough, albino giraffes are getting poached.

From the BBC:

Two extremely rare white giraffes have been killed by poachers in north-eastern Kenya, conservationists say.

Rangers had found the carcasses of the female and her calf in a village in north-eastern Kenya’s Garissa County.

A third white giraffe is still alive. It is thought to be the only remaining one in the world, the conservationists added.

Their white appearance is due to a rare condition called leucism, which causes skin cells to have no pigmentation.

Apparently, no one knows why these giraffes were killed; the poachers’ “motive is still unclear,” per the BBC.

According to the article, the giraffes resided in a large nature conservancy.  Within that conservancy are located a number of small villages.  It’s probably not too far-fetched to assume that local, looking to make a quick buck—or to get magical potency powder from the ashes of an albino creature—slew the unfortunate creatures in cold blood.

Something many Americans don’t realize is the degree of Chinese infiltration and investment in Africa.  If bat soup has taught us anything, it’s that the Chinese are into some weird stuff.  The Chinese, for example, believe that rhinoceros horn is a miracle drug that can be used to cure a number of ailments, including gout.

That suggests another possible theory:  could these deaths be the work of Chinese poachers?  To be clear, I have no concrete evidence to suggest this theory is the case (just as I have no evidence for the first theory), but with the scant evidence available, it’s worth considering.  There are roughly 50,000 Chinese living in Kenya.  Not surprisingly, there is a great deal of friction between the Chinese expats and the locals.

The Kenyans like Chinese investment in infrastructure, but resent Chinese insularity and the peculiarly Chinese propensity for intellectual property theft.  The United States could coast on massive productivity against the rising tide of Chinese duplicity for a long time, until President Trump fought back.  A little nation like Kenya couldn’t, and can’t.

So you have, in poor Kenya, a foreign population from a culture that does not value honesty or fair play when dealing with foreigners, whom the Chinese traditionally view as “barbarians.”  At the risk of painting with a long calligraphy brush, but would anyone be surprised if Chinese poachers killed these giraffes for some perverted medical purpose?  How much more magical and potent would an albino giraffe tongue be than, say, a rhino’s tusk?

Again, I feel reckless even as I write these words.  Surely there are many wonderful Chinese, and I don’t mean to cast an entire race and culture under the bus.  But the coronavirus fiasco has taught us that China can’t be trusted, and it cultivates a culture that does not place a premium on trust with outsiders.

Aside from throwing an entire culture under the bus with scant (but compelling!) evidence, I have another controversial thought:  don’t some species deserve to go extinct?  I don’t mean that giraffes should, necessarily, but species come and go all the time.  Such is the way of life.

I’m not going to contribute, knowingly or actively, to the extinction of a creature (except for roaches and mosquitoes, which deserve to die).  We’ve expended a great deal of wealth and resources to try to keep giraffes around.  Maybe they aren’t meant to survive?  Maybe we, in our short-sighted but well-intentioned way, are just delaying the inevitable?

I’m not so sure.  The noble argument is to protect them.  But what if we’re throwing a wrench into some grander design that must see the giraffes destroyed?

Oh, well.  Who knows.  Humans are limited in our capacity to comprehend such things.  That brings up one final note, in parting:  Z Man’s post from Saturday, “The Garden Gnome Gambit,” invokes miniature albino giraffes.  The post points out the fallacy inherent in much of the coronavirus scare:  “we self-quarantined, and it stopped the virus” is about as provable as “we put these garden gnomes in our yards, and they kept the miniature albino giraffes at bay!”

Strange times, these.  Let’s hope we have better luck than the giraffes.

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