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FoodTrip : Shark fin soup, chinatown Bangkok

After decades of decline in Elephant population the year 2018 bought new hope, as china’s ban on ivory trade came into force. Before this ban the future of this beautiful mammal was looking grim. This move by the chinese officials has been welcomed by the global community and the signs looked encouraging. There are still many questions unanswered, what is the effect of this move on the illegal china’s black market ivory trade. Laos which has always been vital in the trade of ivory between africa and china is now growing rapidly into the largest illegal ivory trade market for african elephants. The market is just slowly making its way from china to laos.

while the task is enormous to stop the poaching of wild elephants and conserving the species, the decision made on oct 29  by china to reverse its 25 year old ban on trade of  rhino horns and tiger bones was a devastating blow to the wild life.

An estimated 30,000 rhinos and 3,900 tigers remain in the wild globally, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Thanks to the global outcry china has temporarily reinstated the ban on the trade of rhino horns and tiger bones.
It’s not just the mammals on the land which are under threat and on the verge of extinction but our activities extend to the ocean as well.

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I had one sickening experience in Chinatown, Bangkok. The consumption of shark fin soup is a controversial subject. It is believed in Chinese traditions that the shark fin soup boosts your sexual potency. The shark fin doesn’t add anything to the taste of the soup, it’s just the texture, which is chewy and stringy. Because of the superstition thousands of sharks are finned and the body of the shark without fins is left in the ocean to die a slow death where the shark cannot hunt or swim. This inhumane activity was condemned by organizations concerned with wildlife and nature conservation all over the world and lot of campaigning has been done over the years to completely stop this activity. The recent reports suggested the consumption of the shark fin soup is on sharp decline, yet I was flabbergasted to see the main street of chinatown in Bangkok alone filled with hundreds of restaurants serving shark fin soup and proudly displaying the biggest fins they have to the people on the streets as their trophies. When I entered a restaurant and started filming the fins, I was asked to stop recording and immediately leave the place.

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Now the point here is that law and regulations  alone are not capable of transforming man. Playing the blame game doesn’t serve the purpose of finding a way for nations to cooperate. “china is destroying the environment” “philippines  is dumping plastic in the oceans” “India is polluting the air” “Indonesia is clearing its forests in sumatra”. Making such statements is dangerous, because it is just an abstraction of the situation in hand. Stating that the problem is out there and believing “I “as an individual is not part of the problem is one of the  reason why our action towards environment protection is inadequate.
Our Existence is intricately intertwined with all the life on earth. Surviving as an isolated entity on the planet is just not possible, the sooner we understand this irrefutable fact the better it is for our future.

We as a species despite all our intellectual prowess are doomed if we don’t realize that other animals are not resources for us to exploit but our neighbours sharing this beautiful planet with us and living in Harmony with nature is critical for humankind to survive.

 

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