Unfair Treatment

Shocking Facts About 5 of Our Planets Most Treasured Animals 

As a  filmmaker and storyteller, Nicole Dangoor beautifully captures and shares the beauty of our world through film and photography. Preferring a documentary style approach, her aim is to allow people to see the world through untold stories – from wildlife and people, to the art of culture and food. Here she shares some of her gorgeous wildlife imagery, capturing the beauty of some of our planets most treasured animals. Read below to see how these beloved creatures are facing unfair treatment – many of them now at the brink of extinction.

1. THE BELOVED ELEPHANT

Did you know?

African Elephants are the largest land mammals on Earth. They form incredibly strong bonds with each other and live in a matriarchal society formed of related females and their calves. The herd is led by the matriarch, the oldest and largest female of the herd.

Elephants laugh, cry, play and have incredible memories. They purr like a cat as a means of communication, have an incredible sense of smell and are the only mammal that can’t jump. The elephant’s tusks are used to dig up food and water; and for males, are used to fight one another. Unfortunately however, their tusks, made from ivory, are also the main reason for elephant poaching!

Many elephants are brutally killed by poachers in order to take their ivory tusks. These are then sold for an unbelievable amount of money and turned into a number of different items including jewellery, ornaments and piano keys. When elephants are killed, their tusks are removed and then their bodies are left to rot. Animal rights activists estimate that poachers in Africa kill between 25,000 and 35,000 elephants per year – that means roughly 104 elephants die each day.

2. THE TREASURED TIGER

Did you know?

The tiger is the largest wild cat in the world and can weigh as much as 300 kilograms. A tiger’s stripes helps them camouflage by breaking up the outline of their body. Amazingly, no two tigers have the same stripes, allowing them to be easily identified from one another.

From 100,000 wild tigers roaming Asia, there are now under 3,000! But why are tigers in danger? Some of the biggest threats to the tigers survival include illegal poaching, a limitation in the number of prey and loss of habitat due to agriculture. Poaching is the main threat upon tigers. In ruthless demand, their parts are used for conventional medicines and remedies, as well as – disgustingly – a status symbol among some Asian cultures.

3. THE GENTLE COW

Did you know?

Just like humans, cows form strong friendships; choosing to share the majority of their time with two to four preferred individuals. Cows are incredibly social creatures and don’t like to be alone. If a cow does isolate herself, this is usually because she is unwell or about to give birth.

People of the Hindu faith strongly believe that cows are holy and therefore, hold them in the highest regard. In fact, there are strict laws in place to protect them. In some regions, if you’re convicted of killing a cow you can be jailed for up to seven years. Ghandi once described a cow as “a poem of compassion”, and also stated that “I worship the cow and I shall defend its worship against the whole world”.

This is a far cry from what we see in the Western world on a day to day basis. In Australia alone, almost 10 million cows are killed each year to become beef. That’s almost 200,000 deaths per week and approximately 27,400 per day. Most are raised to be killed for food and the rest live in a continual cycle of re-impregnation and milking until, eventually, they too are killed.

4. THE IMPRESSIVE LEOPARD

Did you know?

Leopards are nocturnal and during the day hide in bushes or trees. They are also incredibly solitary animals preferring to live alone. Leopards are unbelievably strong, often carrying their heavy pray into the trees in which they’re resting in. They do this to ensure that lions and hyenas cannot steal them from them.

A leopard’s primary threat is the human. People have encroached on their habitat and hunted them down for their fur, bones, skin and organs – which are valuable in traditional Asian medicine.

5. THE MAGNIFICENT CHEETAH

Did you know?

Cheetahs have “tear marks” that run from their eyes down to their mouth. Cheetahs hunt during the day and the marks help reflect the glare from the sun when out hunting. Although cheetahs are unable to climb trees, they can run faster than any other land animal, reaching speeds up to 113km per hour. They can even accelerate from 0 to 113km in mere seconds.

Cheetahs only need to drink once every three to four days, can spot prey from 5 km away and are the only big cat that cannot roar.

There are less than 10,000 cheetahs left in the wild, making the cheetah Africa’s most endangered big cat. This is mainly due to a combination of genetic weaknesses and the unfortunate effects of a decreasing habitat. The cheetah has also been killed by farmers seeking to protect their land and herds.

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