Why are we doing this?
The number of rhinos killed by poachers each and every year has increased significantly since 2007 when only 13 deaths were recorded. By stark contrast in 2017 there was a staggering 1028 rhinos recorded to have been killed by poachers for their horns. At this rate, rhinos will be extinct in 10 years!
Poachers are targeting these iconic animals for their horns as they are more valuable than gold on the black market. Once removed they are being exported to be sold in China, Vietnam and other countries. The people purchasing the horn believe that it has medicinal abilities, capable of anything from curing cancer to treating fevers, even though all scientific research into the matter has proven otherwise. Others are using the horn as a wealth status symbol, for decoration and consuming it as a “club drug” by mixing it with drinks.
There are several ways in which other groups are trying to help prevent rhinos being poached (e.g. dehorning, armed guards, etc.) but these are not always attractive approaches for most reserves in South Africa. The reserves bring in a lot of their money from tourism; having a de-horned rhino is not as appealing to the tourists. It is also not a guaranteed method to stop poachers because whilst just over 90% of the horn is removed when de-horning a stub is left behind, which is still of interest to the poachers. The other method of having round the clock armed guards for the animals mounts up extensive costs.
We are doing this because no living being should have to suffer the horrific injuries that these iconic animals are having inflicted on them by poachers. We want future generations to be able to see and appreciate this magnificent animal in their natural habitat and not just on a screen or in a book.
Even though rhinos are large animals and are known for protecting their territory and young, they are increasingly being poached. The poachers are becoming more sophisticated using night vision goggles to hunt the rhinos. Unfortunately too many are getting away with the atrocious conditions that they are leaving these poor rhinos in to die. Some of the poachers are drugging the rhinos to remove their horns and in other instances, they remove more than the just horn.
In the video below, you will see the condition poachers left a female rhino in at Kruger National Park.
The pictures below show the conditions that other victims of poaching have been left in.