The Rhinoceros, Critically Endangered

This morning I was stunned to read that 57 rhinos had been killed by poachers in South Africa in January 2013. Nearly all of the rhinos were killed in protected areas, too. I knew that poaching was a terrible problem, but I had no idea that it was this serious. At this rate, the rhinoceros will soon go extinct in the wild. It will be very difficult to keep the species alive in zoos.

We visited South Africa in January 2013 near the region where all of these rhinos were killed. We were lucky to see a rhino the very first day we were there, and now I am so saddened thinking about how this amazing animal may really die out, because of human greed and stupidity. We saw a male rhino spraying, as in the video above, as he moved here and there marking his territory. Soon there may be no rhinos in this territory. (The video was uploaded by “smshapiro” on YouTube.

Why did the rhino cross the road? It was dusk when we saw this male rhino crossing the road, but he wasn't ready to call it a night.  He still had work to do.  Every few minutes he would spray a fan of liquid from his rear to mark his territory.  The Rhinoceros is critically endangered.  Rhinos are being massively slaughtered for their horns to send to the Asian market for a ridiculous medical potion.  The horn is keratin, the same as fingernails. Chew your own fingernails for your dubious medical cure, Idiots, and leave the rhino alone!

Why did the rhino cross the road? It was dusk when we saw this male rhino crossing the road, but he wasn’t ready to call it a night. He still had work to do. Every few minutes he would spray a fan of liquid from his rear to mark his territory. The Rhinoceros is critically endangered. Rhinos are being massively slaughtered for their horns to send to the Asian market for a ridiculous medical potion. The horn is keratin, the same as fingernails. Chew your own fingernails for your dubious medical cure, Idiots, and leave the rhino alone!

Rhinos are one of the Big Five that people look for on safari. How long before you never see them?  The Big Five Game list was coined by hunters in ranking the danger of hunting these animals on foot. At least hunting has been switched to sightings of these magnificent animals, although there are still big game hunts in some areas. (The Big Five are Elephants, Lions, Leopards, Rhinoceros and Cape Buffalo.)

The rhino is killed for its horn, because many people in Asia think the horn has medical properties, but it doesn’t. The horn is composed of keratin, which is similar to fingernails. Why don’t these idiots just chew on their own fingernails. It’ll be just as useful to their health.

Our guide told us that sometimes conservationists remove the horn so that the rhino is spared, because all that the poachers want is the horn. The horn acquires its pointed shape because the rhino sharpens it, otherwise it would be a big lump. I hope the rhinos sharpen their horns on more poachers. Even though I don’t literally believe in curses, people who use rhino horn as medicine should know it is cursed. It’s definitely very bad karma to kill a rhino and to buy rhino horn.

The game reserve we visited doesn’t list rhino sightings, because it doesn’t want to give a heads up to poachers. According to the Associated Press, “A record 668 rhinos were killed in South Africa in 2012, an increase of nearly 50 percent over the previous year. Demand is growing in Vietnam and elsewhere in Asia where rhino horn is believed to have medical benefits despite evidence to the contrary. The horn is made of keratin, a protein also found in human fingernails.”

Elephants are facing similar slaughter for their ivory. Don’t buy ivory, even if the seller claims it is from pre-ban ivory or is supposedly otherwise approved. Buying ivory just encourages the death of more elephants. More bad karma.

57 rhinos killed in South Africa so far this year; 18 suspected poachers arrested

Beautiful Photograph of a Baby Rhino.

We saw this rhinoceros 100 feet from the road.  It's good that the rhino is hiding, even though I wanted a closer look.  It's not safe being around many humans.  The Rhinoceros is critically endangered.  It's being slaughtered for its horn, and it's also losing its habitat.

We saw this rhinoceros 100 feet from the road. It’s good that the rhino is hiding, even though I wanted a closer look. It’s not safe being around many humans. The Rhinoceros is critically endangered. It’s being slaughtered for its horn, and it’s also losing its habitat.

About these ads

9 Comments

Filed under Animals

9 responses to “The Rhinoceros, Critically Endangered

  1. I, too, was appalled that so many rhinos had been killed in one swoop. To see one up close (and I’m just talking about the San Diego Zoo) is amazing. They are incredibly creatures and with what looks to be body armor! They are the stuff of prehistory and science fiction. I hate to think of all of the creatures that I’ve “grown up with” that will become extinct in my lifetime.

  2. Many more rhinos have been killed in the first week of February. Here’s an article about how the Chinese campaign against using rhino horn. http://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/5662-Rhino-poaching-campaign-targets-Chinese-youth

  3. This is sad, It makes no sense to me. I love your picture! Beautiful animals.

  4. It’s hard to feel positive if you allow yourself to think about what humans do to each other, the planet, and animals. The thing about poaching rhinos and elephants really makes me angry. I liked your advice about fingernails, although I doubt anyone in the market for rhino horn would ever take it.

    Beautiful photos, as always. You always find a way to make your photos interesting.

  5. A wonderful post Cathy that helps draw attention to a sad situation. It was the same 150 years ago with the Buffalo in America and the Polar Bear in areas of the Arctic. It’s important that more people take the time to help others become are of it and you have done a masterful job. Thank you.

  6. Great piece, but heart breaking. Apparently there are only about 1000-1.400 left, (accurate figures are very hard to get, for lots of reasons) What I find really shocking is that even now- when everyone knows they are absolutely critical – right on the very brink of extinction (once they dip below a couple of hundred it will be too late, as the gene pool will not sustain the species) and yet, at least one wild rhino is still killed everyday in Africa. So unless something absolutely drastic and radical happens- they have less than 2-3 years. I’ll be interested to read that link your other commenter above (below?) left on the chinese approach. Because there is little doubt that the far east is where most of the problem (demand) lies. If there is going to be a real solution, it has to come from there.

  7. I read this on The Rhino Pages on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/TheRhinoPages

    PRIVATE GAME RESERVE UNDER FIRE: REPORT

    A petition is being circulated against a private game reserve in Limpopo that is offering packages to hunt rhino instead of saving them, it was reported on Saturday.

    The petition by Paul Kruger Safaris against the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve offering rhino hunting packages, was supported by various other nature conservationists, the Saturday Star reported.

    “Everyone is fighting for the rhino but Timbavati is allowing them to be hunted,” said nature conservationist Pieter Odendaal.

    He said Timbavati and the Kruger National Park had agreed that no fences would be erected between the parks to allow animals to roam freely.

    “These rhinos set to be shot may well be rhinos that belong to the Kruger Park and who, by chance, are in the way of the hunters,” said Odendaal.

    Timbavati reportedly said photographic tourism operations were far more damaging than sustainable, well managed hunting operations.

    “Only male white rhino above a certain age or horn size are hunted, according to a strict protocol,” said chairman Thomas Hancock.

    The Kruger National Park said the rhino hunting packages were unethical.

    “They tell us that the rhino bulls are old , and ask if they are expected to simply let them die under a tree. I say yes-let nature take its cause,” said spokesman Ike Phaahla.

    I found this article about hunting in this Kruger area reserves. This hunting must be opposed! http://www.africahunting.com/content/2-hunting-apnr-adjoining-kruger-national-park-621/

  8. I’ve enjoyed that short video clip. And sad too to learn from your informative post that they’re rapidly disappearing from the face of this earth. Poaching definitely is a major problem, informing and educating is always crucial, hopefully the next generation would have a change in attitude re. hunting the rhinos just for their horns. But that is a slow process. I’m no biologist, or zoologist, but just wondering if human science and tech. can help the species to propagate in any way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s