Oct 14, 2016

Join the fight to save the rhino

Join the fight to save the rhino!
With the amount of publicity that rhino poaching has been receiving, it is tough not to be aware of the dire situation rhinos are finding themselves in. All species of rhinos; Black rhino, White rhino, greater one-horned rhino, Sumatran rhino and Javan Rhino all find themselves on the critically, threatened and endangered species list. With fewer than 31,000 rhinos left in the world it is a crucial time for conservation efforts to kick into high gear to save these species.

Rhinos once roamed Euroasia and Africa but their numbers have dropped dramatically due to a variety of human activities. The number one issue is poaching rhinos for their horn. The demand for rhino horn in Asian countries has escalated due to medicinal reasons and the status symbol that having a rhino horn represents.

5 facts about the Rhino Horn trade:

  1. Rhino horn is made from thousands of compressed strands of keratin (just like our hair and fingernails).
  2. Approximately four rhinos are killed every day due to the misconception that rhino horn cures fevers, blood disorders, cancer, and hangovers. There is however, no scientific proof that this is true.
  3. Rhino horn is worth more than gold, platinum, diamonds and cocaine on the black market. It is valued at around US$60,000 per kilo, having risen drastically from around US$760 per kilo in 2006.
  4. Purchasing rhino horn doesn’t only contribute to the extinction of a species, but it also creates huge individual suffering. Once the rhino’s horn is hacked from their face, they are left to endure an excruciating death.
  5. In 2007 there were 13 rhinos poached for their horns. By 2014, there were 1,215 rhinos poached. At the current rate of poaching, rhinos could be extinct within the next decade due to the demand for their horn on the black market.

It is believed that the Rhino Horn Trade and other Wildlife Trafficking is largely run by terrorist groups. The consumers of rhino horn are therefore helping terror groups to fund their weapons and explosives.

The fight against rhino poaching is beginning to gain momentum with both anti poaching organizations and celebrities joining the fight to raise awareness. Notably, Prince Harry has spent several months in South Africa working side by side with one of the leading anti poaching organizations Saving the Survivors; an organization that cares for rhinos who have fallen victim to rhino poaching or other traumatic incidences.

Another leading rhino conservation organization is Save the Rhino who are actively educating society about the issues around rhino poaching and actively exploring ways to decrease poaching.

Rhinos have been on the endangered species list for several years, however there are a variety of efforts being made to stop poaching, including:

Anti-Poaching: Training anti-poaching rangers to be both pro active and reactive. Rangers are the ones on the ground who risk their lives daily to protect rhinos and ensuring they are well trained, well equipped and motivated will ensure the safety of our rhinos.

Monitoring: Many reserves are introducing extensive monitoring to better understand the animals on their properties in regards to their movement and habitual patterns. Being better aware of where rhinos roam will give proper support to the anti-poaching rangers.

Education: Spreading the word of what dire state rhinos are in. Educating children on the important role that wildlife play in our society and the benefits of protecting them is crucial for the future of rhinos

Reduce Demand: Demand is single handedly the driving force behind rhino poaching. Raising awareness amongst consumers that there is no scientific proof of rhino horns medicinal benefits and ensuring laws are implemented.

Translocation: In order to increase the population it is important to manage the rhinos that are still alive properly. If an area is overpopulated, breeding will decrease. It will be important to move and distribute rhinos to ensure they are in an environment where they can thrive.

 There are several ways in which the fight against rhino poaching is actively being fought around the world. Hundreds of people risk their lives each day in the hope to stop this rapid poaching. Several anti poaching organizations are doing everything they can to raise funds and educate the world of these issues.

How can you help? Even if you are not able to be at the forefront of the problem, educating others about rhino poaching and staying up to date with the issue is still helpful as we work together to save the rhino!