Props Wednesday: Graffiti for conservation?

Before we get started on all of this, I want to put out there that I do not support any vandalism of any property that is not classified as personally yours (except for your mean ex’s shirts, go ahead and burn them). With that being said, conservationists are using a variety of graffiti to save one of the most endangered species of tortoise on the planet.

Now when I first read the title of the article I pictured tortoises walking around with spray painted profanity all over their shells and the mental image made me laugh. But what they are actually doing is carving letters and numbers into the shells of adult tortoises whose shells are mature enough to handle the procedure. Contraversal? Yes. Effective? Most definitely.

The purpose of this “conservation tattoo” is that these specific tortoises are highly desired as pets in parts of Asia, and are heavily poached from the wild in order to fill the demand. The carving on the shell de-values the animal to someone who is looking to have it as a pet, because it is considered less beautiful. A similar process is done with Rhinos and the removal of their horns to save them from being poached. But…

Here’s my question:

Have we really given up that much on trying to alter people

who steal and kill these animals, that we have

turned to altering the animal itself?

Conservation efforts of all kinds are positive. But to really make a difference, the root of the problem has to be addressed. And what is the root of the problem? (what a great question, thank you for asking) People’s attitudes toward these specific animals whether they are used as medicine, trophies, or pets is where the issue lies. Conservation efforts that are focusing on how to make people value the animals and environment are the ones that are making the biggest dents. Giving villagers another way of life besides poaching, or having research that de-bunks the myths of horns and tusks as medicine is the best way to go in the fights of conservation.


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