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The illegal wildlife trade is a worldwide, black-market industry that targets rare and endangered animal species for their use as exotic pets, food, medicinal ingredients, jewelry, household trinkets, and more. Its effect on endangered animal populations has been devastating. For example, approximately 100 African elephants are killed for their ivory tusks – which are often turned into decorative ornaments – every single day. Between 2012 and 2015 alone, over 103,000 elephants were killed by poachers. Africa has now lost 60 percent of its elephant population, and many conservation experts fear that the continent’s elephants could become extinct by the year 2025.

Gorillas, lions, tigers, and rhinos – to name a few – are also being targeted, captured, and killed by illegal wildlife poachers at an alarming rate. The damage that the illegal wildlife trade has caused to vulnerable animal populations is one of the major contributing factors behind the Earth’s sixth mass extinction event.

A mass extinction event is defined as the disappearance of 75 percent of Earth’s biodiversity within a period of three to twenty-two centuries. A recent, shocking report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London found that 58 percent of our planet’s wildlife has been lost in the past four decades alone, primarily due to human activities. While habitat loss and deforestation have played a significant role in the loss of so many of Earth’s animals, there is no doubt that the illicit wildlife trade is also to blame.

The plight of the innocent animals caught up in this gruesome trade was recently highlighted by renowned photographer Jo-Anne McArthur. McArthur’s pioneering work has long sought to shed a light on the cruelty that animals suffer at human hands.

In this heart-wrenching picture, the love and devotion that this young monkey feels for their mother can be clearly seen.

This Heart-Wrenching Picture Reveals Why We Need to Change Our Relationship With Wild Animals

It is obvious that the loving bond between this mother and baby is exactly the same as the powerful connection that human parents and children share. Tragically, the separation of mothers from their offspring is a routine occurrence for animals caught up in the wildlife trade. Monkeys who have been targeted for sale as an exotic pet, for example, are often separated from their mothers at a very young age so that they will be more docile and easier to bend to their handlers’ will.

While it is hard to say for sure what this little monkey’s fate is to be, one thing that this image definitely demonstrates is that when young animals are torn from their mothers in order to satisfy humans’ greed for profit, it is nothing short of heartbreaking. This picture reminds us that every one of us must do what we can to raise awareness of the harm that the illegal wildlife trade has caused to vulnerable beings all over the world.

To find out how you can help put an end to this trade, check out the links below:

Image Source: Jo-Anne McArthur/My Dream For Animals

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16 comments on “Heart-Wrenching Picture Reveals Why We Need to Change Our Relationship With Wild Animals”

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Victoria Jacques
9 Months Ago

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Punitha George
1 Years Ago

Cold hearted people. How could you ever do this to an innocent animal ? Please stop violence to animals before the fate comes back to you.

1 Years Ago

My God! We need to stop this!!! Enough suffering for the defenseless. LEAVE THEM ALONE!

Violet Cameron
1 Years Ago

Laws need to change to protect the unprotected.

Tess Husbands
1 Years Ago

They aren\'t wildlife and wild animals; they are scientifically, biological diversity and bio means "life". After all, our life flowing planet Earth is her first, natural and wild surfaces, created, supported, sustained, maintained, serviced and conserved only by all biological diversity, the literal strands in the web of all life. Only wild and natural planet Earth, alone, and "all" biological diversity generate and release all life lines for life itself, ensured by all biological diversity.

Science maintains, the extinctions of biological diversity are as safe for Earth and mankind as global, thermonuclear war. The extinction rate of today is, 1,000 to ten thousand times higher than normal. A panel of scientist maintained, for every species of biological diversity that fall extinct, mankind and planet Earth, slide closer to extinction.

"In Wildness is the salvation of the Earth and the preservation of all life, long known among wolves and planet Earth but seldom perceived by man." Aldo Leopold, the father of Ecology.

1 Years Ago


Ruth Ludgater
1 Years Ago

To see these beautiful and sentient animals in obvious and exteme distress and not want to help but cause harm is mind boggling These people have lost their compassion. How would they like their own children wrenched away from them and then enslaved!!

Ajith Bhojani
1 Years Ago

Thanks for ruining my day. I am seriously depressed now.

Bettina Moser
20 Jan 2017

Me too - seriously depressed. What a terrible world. I am a biologist and LOVE nature and animals. Witnessing all this animal abuse and destruction of nature for so-called "development" is so hard to take.

huey smith
1 Years Ago

Demons....evil demons. They are without souls, compassion or empathy for animals. Just sickens me. When will it stop.....I hate most humans. I wish this world would just blow the fuck up...and start over. Why is this even happening??? there are no consequences thats why. Please ...we need this animal abuse to end before we end up killing every single creature who ever existed....just so horrible.

Deanna Shaw
1 Years Ago

I say if they don\'t want to follow the laws then we shouldn\'t follow them when they are caught - shoot them on sight with no questions asked. Eventually the people that are paying them to do this will not be able to find anyone willing to risk their lives. Easy solution!!!!


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