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100 Rhinos Slaughtered In Less Than Two Months

100 Rhinos Slaughtered In Less Than Two Months

100 rhinos have been killed in less than two months in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. AFP reports that this “surge” in rhino killings by poachers means that the number of the endangered animals killed this year could surpass the total of 381 killed last year.

80 percent of the world’s remaining 20,000 rhinos live in South Africa. Driving the killings is the black market for rhino horns in Asia — including Malaysia, South Korea, India and China — where the horns are thought to have healing properties.

Rhino horns are composed completely of keratin, which is found in hair, fingernails and animal hooves; chemical examination of the horns has shown that they are similar in structure to the beaks of turtles, cockatoo bills and horses’ hooves.  In traditional Chinese medicine, the horns are ground up into a powder that is dissolved in water to treat fever, rheumatism, gout and other conditions. A PBS reports cites a 16th century Chinese pharmacist, Li Shi Chen, who said that rhino horns could be used for all manner of ailments including snakebites, hallucinations, typhoid, headaches, carbuncles, vomiting, food poisoning and even “devil possession.”

PBS cites a 1990 Chinese University in Hong Kong study that found that “large doses of rhino horn extract could slightly lower fever in rats (as could extracts from Saiga antelope and water buffalo horn).” But the concentration of horn used by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine is much less than scientists used in their experiments.

In 2007, thirteen rhinos were killed. In 2010, that number rose to 333.

South Africa has deployed soldiers and investigators to the parks to fight the poachers. But the real issue is the external demand for the horns. As Albi Modise, a spokesman for South Africa’s department of environmental affairs says to AFP, “You can put all the resources at home, but if you don’t address the demand outside South Africa, you will not win the battle.”

Rhinos are being killed in increasingly larger numbers so their horns can be used for outmoded and inaccurate medical theories that will, it seems too likely, exist long after the last rhino dies.

 

Related Care2 Coverage

Rhino Ranches Take New Approach to Prevent Poaching

Western Black Rhino Declared Extinct

UK Deal To Prevent Rhino Extinction

 

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Photo by Jason Wharam

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104 comments

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5:09PM PDT on Sep 27, 2013

Unfortunately when it comes to wildlife humans can not be trusted. Not all humans mean any harm to our wildlife it's just that we can't tell the difference and unless & until we can then I'm ok with stripping all humans right to "protect" our wildlife.
Wildlife animals belong in the wild not in a cage not slaughtered for their body parts or their skins. We have done more harm then good to the environment that they need to survive & thrive. It's our job to protect all animals they are gifts from our creator they breathe like we do, they feel pain like we do and yes they also love & protect their kids like we do. It's time to put up or shut up change the laws to

4:23AM PDT on May 12, 2013

What a tragedy... Really sad news. :'(

8:55PM PDT on May 6, 2013

One of the saddest reports I have heard in a while. I am completely embarrassed and appalled. I am so sorry.

8:09AM PDT on May 6, 2013

What a cruelty! That's very sad...

9:26PM PDT on May 5, 2013

Damned the cruelty of humans.

1:50PM PDT on May 5, 2013

no animals left, they will go after humans

11:46AM PDT on May 5, 2013

Just so sad. Let them kill everything then what will these assholes do?

8:34AM PDT on May 5, 2013

There should be an international ban on any commercial trade with these complicit Asian countries. Let us all call for a world wide ban on imports of all products from these countries until they have proved that they are taking seriously positive action against the import of rhino horn, elephant tusks, lion teeth and all forms of wild animal trade. We as a family have taken a decision not to buy anything manufactured in China, Vietnam and Korea as a first step in this direction, with Japan close on their heels following their attitude towards dolphin and whale hunting. Not that our protest will be noticed perhaps, but it is a matter of principle and if more people cared, it could grow to being a significant protest. Something needs to be done and governments don't seem to have the will to make it happen.

4:23AM PDT on May 5, 2013

This has to stop!!!!

11:10PM PDT on May 4, 2013

leave them alone!!!!!!!!!! what's the difference than the fur trade?

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