The current situation and the rate at which wildlife is poached in Kenya and other African countries is quite disturbing. The situation is accelerated, day by day, by consistent silence and inaction. Every week ivory is seized by authorities, and poachers arrested; but the problem is not solved.
It is now a fact that the last male species of white rhino in the world is in Kenya. This one instance proves several cases of extinction of animal species. Today, Kenya burned the biggest ever stockpile of ivory of 6,000 illegally killed elephants- 105 tonnes of elephant ivory and 1.5 tonnes of rhino horns. This leads to the question does Jesus care about poaching of wildlife or ivory trade? The answer is a resounding Yes, he does care. Take a look.
The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation is very clear on matters of creation. God created all things good-whether plant or animals. God’s creation originally reflected what he wanted. There is a godly purpose and intrinsic quality in wanting animals to be animals. They reflect the greatness, goodness, wisdom and they declare the glory of God.
The problem of poaching not only demonstrates the reality of the fall of man but is also a failure to be God’s stewards over his creation. It is clearly an expression of self-centeredness and disobedience of man before God.
In God’s design, at no time should man attempt to eliminate other creation. Rather, humanity should respect the existence of every creation, preserve it and make it flourish. Creation mandate requires man to be a steward not an exploiter. For he is not at the center of all things, God is. Humanity is part of God’s creation, and knowing its rightful role and place in the entire creation is important in allowing other creatures (like elephants and rhino’s) have their rightful place.
Despite the fall of man, creation is hopeful through the reconciling work of Christ on the cross. Christ promises to restore all things at the very end of age. He cares for all creation. All things include every single creation. God’s creation, like humanity, is hopeful and therefore looking forward to that promised glorious future. Christian eschatology is not only about human salvation but also includes the redemption of the entire creation.
Humanity shares a lot with other creation. They live in the same “home”, the earth, with the rest of God creation. But man as the only creation in the image and likeness of God, is given mandate to accountably rule over the rest of God’s creation. Therefore mankind, in the Bible, is not justified in destroying wildlife.
Today, the massive loss of elephants and rhinos can be attributed to negative human action. The problem of poaching can be narrowed down to human greed. The insatiable greed to “quick riches” through ivory trade is quickly terminating our wildlife. It is selfish of humanity to put priority on self-centered interests and gains over stewardship of God’s creation. The fact that some animal species are facing extinction tells us that they are not enough in number for our greed.
The worth and value of elephants and rhino’s among other animals is not depended on man but God. Their existence should not be dependent on what value they are to man.
For every Christian, participating in conservation of wildlife is a worthy cause, for it is related to the purposes of God. There is some amount of righteousness and justice that comes with becoming faithful to God’s mandate of taking care of his creation. Advocating for elephants ‘rights’ and other wildlife is worth our time attention, money and support. It is an exercise of stewardship over God’s creation.
It is fine to be motivated by the gains we earn from tourism in order to promote conservation of wildlife; it is also good to do it for posterity but it is even greater if we do it because it is the right and godly thing to do. If Jesus cares, which is the case, his followers should. This involves joining hands with other relevant bodies and policy makers in ensuring that the future of wildlife is safeguarded.
Each one of us has power in our hands to do something or to influence for the threat is real. When we participate in protecting wildlife God is glorified!