Target: Joseph Kabila, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Goal: Allow rangers to use non-lethal weapons to stop poachers from killing thousands of eastern lowland gorillas.
Eastern lowland gorillas, endemic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are critically endangered with only 2,000 to 10,000 of these animals left in the entire world. Alarmingly, scientists have concluded that their population has dropped more than 50 percent since the early 1990s. We need to take action to better ensure these beautiful animals will not become extinct.
Besides losing their habitat because of constant civil unrest and mines being illegally built in the national park where they are supposed to be protected, meat from these animals is also highly sought after by wealthy members of society. Many people even believe their body parts can be used for medicinal purposes. More eastern lowland gorillas are therefore being illegally hunted than ever before.
At one point, rangers spotted 108 poachers. However, since park rangers are only allowed to use their weapons as a means of self-defense if someone is going to shoot them, only 65 of these poachers were stopped. Rangers would have likely been able to successfully arrest the other people if they had been allowed to use non-lethal weapons, such as Taser guns to paralyze the hunters.
Demand that rangers be allowed to use such non-deadly weapons in order to help them catch more poachers. Taking such a step would likely help save many of these majestic creatures.
Dear President Kabila,
There is only 2,000 to 10,000 eastern lowland gorillas left in the entire world. This species could go extinct if nothing is done to protect these gorillas from poachers and habitat fragmentation. According to scientists, the population of these animals has depleted by over 50 percent since the 1990s.
They have already lost a great amount of their habitat due to the civil war that is being fought in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as because of illegal mines that are being built in areas where they are supposed to have full protections. In addition, these animals are now being killed at a much faster rate than they have been in the past. Wealthy members of society are willing to pay a premium for the gorillas’ meat and their body parts are also sought out for other purposes.
It is difficult for rangers to catch and arrest these poachers since they are only allowed to shoot at the particular poacher as a means of self-defense. If rangers were allowed to use weapons of less lethal force, such as Taser guns, to help them catch illegal hunters, they would likely have enough time to arrest the hunter before he had the chance to escape or harm the ranger in pursuit.
In order to efficiently catch gorilla poachers, I urge you to support and advocate for rangers carrying non-lethal weapons. If steps like this are not taken soon, these animals will very likely become extinct in our lifetime.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Joe McKenna