More on illegal ivory trade: ‘More valuable than gold’

We got some appreciative feedback to our highlighting efforts to stop the illegal trade in rhino and elephant horns, and y’all seemed to get the connection without our having to be explicit: elephant-Ganesha-their roles in Indian history and culture. (I guess I just made it clear.)

So here’s another post, which I guess you could call enforced education on the subject.

This week, wildlife conservation groups are meeting in London to figure out ways to slow down the trade in ivory. (Thus the reason it is popping up in the media.)

NPR had a pretty solid story on Wednesday morning. You can listen at this link, as well as read it (although the audio version is more comprehensive):

A decade ago, fewer than 100 rhinos were killed in a year. Last year, it was more than 1,000, says Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“When you’re talking about something that is more valuable than gold, and it is easily accessible, you’re going to create the atmosphere where people are going to take advantage of that,” he says.


“What we’re seeing now is a massive increase in demand. But this isn’t really for traditional medicine. This is more [for] the growing middle class or upper class in Asia,” says [Jonathan] Bailey [of the Zoological Society of London]. “It’s being used for things like cancer cures or even mixed with cocaine and snorted. … All sorts of crazy things that do absolutely nothing for anybody. It’s just about status.”

Here’s the crux of the problem: “One pound of rhino horn now sells for tens of thousands of dollars.”

Countries, including the U.S., are changing laws to allow only (and even limited) trade and import of antique ivory, meaning pieces that are at least 100 years old (and verifiably so). But, as the NPR story notes, a major problem is that more people, not less, are wanting rhino horns and elephant tusks.

On a completely different topic: Tim Miller’s latest blog, all about love:

Eventually, maybe we will learn to extend this love even to those poor, unenlightened souls who practice other kinds of yoga, and maybe even to those who think that yoga is a cultured milk product, a sex cult, a brainwashing technique, or painful and exotic exercise.

I suppose the post pretty well questions by non-love for Ashtanga. The answer, I guess (as always): Just keep practicing.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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