Rhino Poachers in South Africa Set Grave New Record

South Africa just set a new record, and unfortunately it means more devastating news for rhinos. If we don’t act quickly, then we can start picturing a world without rhinos in the near future because we’re senselessly killing them off.

1,020 Rhinos Have Been Poached in South Africa

As reported in BBC, South Africa’s rhinos are suffering. Just this year, 1,020 rhinos have been killed by poachers. This number alarms conservationists because it’s an undeniable reminder of how current conservation efforts are failing rhinos. Last year, 1,004 rhinos had been poached in South Africa.

South Africa, the country with the largest number of rhinos, has taken hits year after year, and the rhino death toll continues to rise year after year. Conservationists fear that the number of rhino deaths could beat the number of rhino births in the next four years, an occurrencethat this critically endangered species can’t afford.Most of the rhino deaths have occurred in Kruger National Park. The park stretches over 7,500 sq miles, and sits in Skukuza, South Africa.

Conservationists don’t want 2015 to set a new record, so the rush is on to protect rhinos. The country has started to move the animals to nearby countries with “safety zones.” The designated zones are equipped with guards with guns, helicopters and dogs. The national army has also been sent to poaching hotspots, like Mozambique.

Rhino Horns Hold the Golden Cure

Sadly, all of these efforts are probably not enough. Like poaching elephants for their tusks, poaching rhinos for their horns is part of a multi-billion dollar business run by a web of hardcore criminals. Illegal rhino horns are more valuable than gold to many around the globe, and they’ll go to great lengths for rhino horns, which are mostly protein keratin common in hair, fingernails and hooves.

PBS explains that in Yemen, boys are gifted daggers with rhino horn handles adorned in jewels as symbols of their manhood, their devotion to Islam and to protect themselves. In China, rhino horns have a long history of being used in ceremonies and adorning everyday items, including buttons, belt buckles, paperweights and other items.

The demand for rhino horn is highest for things that money and gold can’t buy: health. Horns are stars in Asian traditional medicine, particularly China and Vietnam. The Atlantic reports that the Vietnamese are willing to shell out $300,000 for a piece of rhino to cure hangovers, fevers, liver issues and, most recently, cancers. Around the mid-2000s a Vietnamese politician was rumored to have cured his cancer with ground-up rhino horn. Vietnam has seen a surge of unprecedented wealth, but cancer care and treatment hasn’t advanced at the same rate. Rhino horns’ rumoredcancer curing abilitymean that the elite are willing to spend.

While believers cite studies — like one from Chinese University in Hong Kong where large doses of rhino horn extract slightly reduced fevers in rats — the global scientific community has yet to prove that rhino horns have any healing properties. Many experts agree that chewing fingernails or taking an aspirin would have the same effects.

What Rhino Horns Are Really Good For

Meanwhile, we are wiping rhinos off the face of the earth. If the poaching continues at its current rate, rhinos could be extinct in the next 20 years and all for faux medicine and trinkets.

Here’s what rhino horns are really good for: rhinos need their horns to help them dig for food, to protect their young, to defend their territory and to charge when threatened. Some callous poachers won’t even kill them. Instead, they’ll tranquillize them and cut the horns off with a chainsaw, so the poor rhino has to wake up and experience the trauma of missing its horn before bleeding to death.

This needs to end. To get involved and learn what you can do to save the rhinos, Save the Rhinos has excellent resources.

Photo Credit:

119 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

SEND
Jennifer H.
Jennifer H4 years ago

Sad truth about humanity. Greed is its co-pilot.

SEND
Mandy H.
Mandy H4 years ago

At the end of the day nothing will help rhino's more than stamping out corruption and stupidity. Corrupt offices are looking to make quick and large amounts of cash to help with smuggling and it is stupidity which is driving the market for the horns, after all most clever people are quite aware that rhino horn isn't going to cure cancer.

SEND
Tricia Hamilton
Tricia Hamilton4 years ago

Africa doesn't give a shit because they have aid and don't give a crap unless it is instant gratification, FU Africa

SEND
Frank Mugford
Frank Mugford4 years ago

Very sorry but it will happen; we shall lose Rhinos, Elephants and Polar bears, just as a start. And this is before we obliterate ourselves.
I wonder if it might be possible to cut off the horns of all, or most, of the Rhinos in South Africa, maybe replacing them with cheap but effective prosthetics?

SEND
Angev GERIDONI
Angev GERIDONI4 years ago

NEW THREAT on Petropolis animals, they need again your help
to stop a project of a vivarium for laboratory. You know what's
happened to the horses in the streets outside, imagine for pets in cages. Please sign the new petition here :
STOP Petropolis vivarium project

SEND
Angev GERIDONI
Angev GERIDONI4 years ago

For the horses and goats from PETROPOLIS please sign the petitions :
Care 2 - and - ♞ PeticaoPublica.com
To see more : misfed. - Rip - Rip - misfed - Rip

Angev

SEND
Angev GERIDONI
Angev GERIDONI4 years ago

NEW THREAT on Petropolis animals, they need again your help
to stop a project of a vivarium for laboratory. You know what's
happened to the horses in the streets outside, imagine for pets in cages. Please sign the new petition here :
STOP Petropolis vivarium project

SEND
Jean G.
JeanisAWAY G4 years ago

Signed and shared. What a tragedy!

SEND