September 22nd we celebrate World Rhino Day. Last year I posted about this important occasion, hoping to raise awareness of the perilous future rhinos face. This year, numbers haven’t really improved and things don’t look any less grim.
The number of rhinos killed increase each year. Keep in mind, the above graphic only lists rhinos killed in South Africa. This does not include the rhinos lost in Asia. Nor does it include any numbers from 2015.
Rhinos’ #1 predator is humans, and we kill them for two reasons: their horns and trophy hunting.
While trophy hunting isn’t illegal, it is a highly controversial issue. Rhinos are one of the Big 5 and have been hunted for centuries. Many conservation groups and hunting groups, along with various government officials and scientists discuss the pros and cons of hunting endangered species. Trophy hunting is, for the most part, regulated, and therefore is not considered a detrimental effect on the overall rhino population, unlike poaching.
Poachers kill rhinos for their horns. Although horns are made of keratin (think human fingernails), they are sold as traditional medicine in Asia’s black markets. Education about the true value of rhino horn is key here, but when black markets are operated by organized crime, education can only impact so much.
Poachers use helicopters, machine guns, veterinary immobilization drugs, and other methods to hunt rhinos. Most poaching syndicates are based in Mozambique — a country that borders South Africa and where the government can’t or won’t step in.
That’s why rhinos need YOU on their team. We need tougher anti-poaching laws, tougher restrictions on trophy hunting and transportation of wild game trophies of endangered species, and tougher punishments for the criminals that do get caught. We need to raise awareness worldwide and educate those who think rhino horn has medicinal properties, to get them to stop buying it.
With World Rhino Day just a couple of weeks away, won’t you consider joining #TeamRhino? Here are some easy ways to get involved and feel good about yourself, too:
DONATE – send a gift in any amount to International Rhino Foundation. This organization has been awarded the Independent Charities Seal of Excellence, an honor bestowed upon members that have, “upon rigorous independent review, been able to certify, document, and demonstrate on an annual basis that they meet the highest standards of public accountability, program effectiveness, and cost effectiveness.”
SPREAD THE WORD – blog, tweet, email, talk about rhinos and the dangers they face if we don’t do something to help them.
Here are some easy links to follow:
SHOP – Buy a T-shirt, help a rhino. Shop online for lots of cool rhino gear to announce your team.