Thursday, April 11, 2013

Save the Rhino

This is probably one of the "saddest" photos I've ever taken but nonetheless felt compelled to do - so I could use it as an example of what owners/managers of (many private) game reserves feel forced to do - to tranquilize their rhinoceros (rhino) to remove the horns as a way of preventing ruthless poachers from mercilessly killing these magnificent animals - for the illegal trade in rhino horn!!

To think that not so long ago, rhino were saved from extinction - only to become the targets again because certain cultures pay enormous amounts of money for rhino horn - mostly on the black market - to be used as traditional medicine or for ornamental purposes.

The recent spike in (especially White/Square-lipped) rhino appears particularly senseless if one considers that rhino horn is made of keratin - just like (human) fingernails and/or hair!!

In other words a rhino horn isn't a "true" horn but instead thickly matted hair . . .

. . . which re-grows after being "cut off" - but why is it necessary to "preventatively maim" these animals in the first place?

In reaction many concerned conservationists/people in general/various organisations are suggesting a variety of drastic measures to save the rhino - apart from "naming & shaming" poachers.

Nobody wants to "de-form" any wild animals (remove the horns - as above) - and for the time being this isn't "practised" by the custodians of the National Game Reserves, but instead by "private" game owners to protect their "investment" - they paid huge amounts of money so that this member of the BIG 5 can feature amongst other species in their reserves.

However if the brutal killing of our rhino isn't stopped right away [See: the deeply worrying statistics on the left] - what can/should be done to save the rhino from extinction???

To date: more than 200 rhino were already killed by poachers this year!!!

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