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Tuesday, February 14, 2023

albinos ~ face threat, pain and cruelty .... !!

In Dan Brown’s ‘Da Vinci Code’  – Silas, the albino plays a prominent role.   In some ways, unnatural things garner more attention.  Melanin is a pigment  found in most organisms.   Albinism (from Latin albus, "white") is a congenital disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes due to absence or defect of tyrosinase, a copper-containing enzyme involved in the production of melanin. Albinism results from inheritance of recessive gene alleles and is known to affect all vertebrates, including humans.   An  organism with complete absence of melanin is called an ‘albino’

In India, crows are too common and not so much liked birds. The black bird is sometimes seen as portent of evil things too.  ‘sighting of a white crow’ is considered as a ‘true lie’.  Months back there was a report of an unusual white crow that was attracting bird watchers to Nottinghamshire country park. Here is something horrific read in Daily Mail – sad, that the mutant animals are  being specially bred… so they can be shot by big game hunters: South African ranchers charge 100 times as much for the ‘honour’ of shooting unusually-coloured animals

White lions with sky-blue eyes, wildebeest with glossy golden coats and coffee-coloured springbok are being targeted by big game hunters in South Africa for their unusual looks. But these beautiful animals do not come into the paths of hunters' guns by chance - they are specially bred mutants that cost tens of thousands of pounds to kill. One breeder has explained the motivation behind creating these genetically modified creatures - some of which suffer horrific health problems.   It will set you back £20,000 to hunt a white lion, more than it would cost to kill a normal one !

Lions with pale blue eyes, white kudus, coffee-coloured springboks, wildebeest with golden coats and black impalas are being engineered to be unusual, according to Bloomberg. An American tour operator offering hunt packages in South Africa charges £600 for the pleasure of killing a blue wildebeest, but it costs a whopping £33,000 to shoot one with a golden coat. It will set you back £20,000 to hunt a trophy white lion, compared to £11,000 to shoot one with a blonde mane. If you are wanting to kill a black impala, it will cost you £30,000 - 100 times more than the price to hunt one with normal colourings.

According to its website, a trip with tour operator Africa Hunt Lodge is 'not an average or budget minded African Safari'. 'The majority of our Africa hunt packages are 7-10 days for 5-10 animals.... this allows our hunters to hunt without overabundant pressure, and time to see plenty of African game animals,' it adds. Barry York, who owns a ranch about 135 miles east of Johannesburg, told Bloomberg: 'We breed them because they’re different. 'There’ll always be a premium paid for highly-adapted, unique, rare animals.'

Despite the hunting, the numbers of large game in South Africa have actually increased. Peter Flack, a hunter and conservationist, described the animals as 'Frankenstein freaks of nature' that have 'nothing to do with conservation and everything to do with profit'. The NSPCA claims most animals with unusual colourings would not survive in the wild, according to Bloomberg. Skin diseases, cancers, foot problems and being more susceptible to heat stroke are some of the problems experienced by the mutant wildlife.

More horrific is the tale of ‘albino human beings’ in African countries.  It is stated that across Africa, albinos are killed for their body parts to be used in rituals.  There is news that Tanzania arrested more than 200 witchdoctors who were caught with skins, warthog teeth, ostrich eggs and bird claws.  Police in Malawi have arrested a man for trying to strangle to death a 16-year-old albino boy.   The suspect had been on the run after he was caught trying to kill the 16-year-old at his home in February and will soon appear in court facing a charge of attempted murder.

Across many parts of Africa, albinos are killed for their body parts, which are then sold to witchdoctors who use them for rituals and potions.  Six albinos have been killed in the impoverished southern African country since December, according to the Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi.  According to the Organisation, Malawian albinos are 'living in fear of being attacked or killed' because of the recent spate of murders. Belief in witchcraft runs deep in Malawi and albino body parts are often used in rituals. Even the bodies of dead albinos are sometimes exhumed and sold.

Earlier this week, UN human rights chief denounced attacks against albinos as 'stunningly vicious, with children in particular being targeted'.  Countries in east and west Africa are worst affected, and Tanzania near Malawi has one of the highest attack rates, where body parts sell for around $600 and an entire corpse fetches $75,000.  The statement also appealed to religious leaders, traditional elders, politicians and journalists 'to continue the awareness campaign against superstitious beliefs that are holding back the development of the country.'

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

13th Mar 2015.

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