Tag Archives: rhino

Rhinos – Rare and Poached

I’m sure that most of the folks who read our blogs are animal and bird lovers, so I guess I’m preaching to the converted here when I say that our war against rhino poachers needs all the soldiers we can muster.  We’ve recently spent time on a birding weekend in the Kruger National Park with some SANParks Voluntary Rangers (from the West Rand Region) and we heard about their fund-raising efforts for, amongst other things, the protection of rhinos in the national parks.  I should imagine that every killing must make the authorities feel like they are taking three steps forward and two steps back.

White rhinoceros

Funnily enough, in spite of the vast numbers that are being poached at the moment, we were fortunate enough to come across a number of rhinos on our short visit to Kruger.  These bulky, prehistoric-looking animals lumber around peacefully unaware of the price they have on their heads (literally) and what danger they’re in from unscrupulous poachers.  The threat comes from poachers of all nationalities, but it would seem mainly from Mozambicans who have easy access to the Park.

White rhinoceros

I’m always devastated when I hear of South Africans being caught poaching, or masterminding poaching operations, as I feel they are destroying our heritage and should know better.  The Asians who call for rhino horn are far removed from the area so are not impacted by what is going on here.  That is no excuse however.

White rhinoceros

The Rhinose Foundation that collects money for the conservation of rhinos, has decided that an effective way to tackle the problem is to get the Asians to see for themselves what their predilection for rhino horn is doing in Africa.  They use much of their funding to bring delegations from Asia to the Park to witness first-hand the death and destruction that is taking place here and to take back the message to their people that this must stop before it’s too late.  Hopefully by educating famous people, like singers or TV personalities who have large fan bases, they can spread the word and make a change back home.

White rhinoceros

Members of the South African Parliament are also being brought in to see what is happening so that they can go back and promulgate harsher laws against poachers.  One can only hope that this will be effective in the long term.

White rhinoceros

Last year 1216 rhinos were poached in South Africa.  Three weeks into February 2015 and already 166 have been killed.  Who knows if the beautiful rhinos featured in our photos here will still be alive in a month’s time.  What a sad thought that is and what a tragedy for future generations if we don’t win this battle.

Where have all the rhinos gone?

Our readers are mainly folks living out of Africa, so I’m going to ask you a strange question here – have you ever seen a rhinoceros in the wild?  If you haven’t, may I suggest that you make a plan to do so in the near future, because these magnificent creatures are being poached out of existence.  Having roamed the earth for close on fifty million years, they are being wiped out at an alarming rate by greedy crime syndicates supplying ignorant Asian consumers who believe that rhino horns possess medicinal properties.

Black rhinoceros - Ethosa Namibia

Sadly, a number of vets, nature conservationists and security guards are amongst those guilty of this killing spree in South Africa, which begs the question – if the very people who are meant to be protecting them are succumbing to greed, what hope is there for these endangered animals?

Black rhinoceros - Etosha Namibia

The rhino population has declined by 90% in the last 40 years.  In 2010 alone, more than 210 rhinos have been slaughtered in South Africa for their horns.  The situation has become so bad that game reserve owners are now reluctant to invest in these expensive animals because they are at such a high risk of being killed.  Game reserves are so vast, that rhinos don’t have a chance of being protected against poachers, armed with AK47’s, who come seeking them in helicopters.   Having said that, though, the poachers are also brazen enough to get to rhinos that are brought into guarded areas near homesteads.

Rhino horns - keratin gold

Rhino horns are made of keratin and weigh between 8 and 11 kilograms.  They are fetching outrageous prices on the Asian black market which makes them an attractive proposition for poachers.  Unlike elephants that breed prolifically and can make a comeback if killed for their ivory, rhinos are in short supply and cannot tolerate being wiped out at the current rate.

White rhinoceros - Waterberg Namibia

Poachers are able to dart the rhinos and simply remove the horns from the animals without harming them, but instead they are wantonly killing them, often quite brutally.   It’s a shameful situation and one that needs addressing as a matter of urgency.

Such a majestic animal

Is the rhino going to be the next animal that man, in his greed, removes from the planet?  Start saving for your trip to Africa now to see them before it’s too late, or better still give a donation to an organization funding efforts to save rhinos.  They, like the rhinos, desperately need all the help they can get to combat this dire situation.  We’d love your comments on this subject – please let us know how you feel about it.