Now for a bit of good news. The White Rhinoceros is making a comeback on the African Savanas, and Black Rhinos are over populating their preserves. Fortunately the World Wildlife Fund’s Black Rhino Range Expansion Project is relocating these wonderful animals to many other areas in Africa. By the way the White Rhino isn’t white. They have a very wide mouth that looks much like a vacuum cleaner, and someone in the past confused wide for white–that’s one theory anyway.
This is great news when one considers that in the last forty years the decline in their population was 80%. Black Rhinos population once numbered 500,000 thousand. Today there are 29,000. In 1885, the White Rhino was thought to be extinct until fifty of them were discovered in Umfolozi. There are now 12,000. Very cool.
The extinction rate of these magnificent animals is the result on one thing, their horns–composed of they same stuff as our fingernails. In Yeman, Rhino horns were favored as the most beautiful handles for a knife called jambiya. Fortunately, education initiatives and a fatwa (laws) against rhino horns has reduced this practice.
However, the medicinal use of Rhino horns in China to cure or help people with a variety of ailments is the primary reason for why Rhinos are still being poached all over Africa today– this practice started thousands of years ago. If you have the stomach for it, you can see how horrible this is, just search for pictures of Rhinos and you’ll run into some very ugly and sad pictures of mutilated Rhinos, some still alive and scared for life. Many scientists have looked into the fingernail properties of Rhino horns and find nothing medicinal about them, and yet this hasn’t stopped people from selling these product, and why wouldn’t they. On the black market, Rhino horn clippings are worth three times the value of gold.
What’s great is that the Rhinoceros is one of the big five most popular tourist attractions in Africa and has become a 10 billion dollar industry–the other four are lions, leopards, elephants and buffalo. Cheetahs are sixth.
Now for the good and bad news. For $15,000, you can get a Rhino for your privately owned preserve. In some cases, they are protected as best as possible by well trained teams of armed men who search the savanas everyday for signs of poachers. Obviously this is good.
However, there are many privately owned reserves that have commodified rhinos. In fact, name an animal and you’ll will find similar reserves popping up everywhere. Many of the owners of these reserves boast that they are saving these animals from extinction. What’s really going on is summed below. For more detail, read about it in the October 2016 National Geographic, article entitled Deadly Trade. Bryan Christy and Investigative Journalist gave up his law practice to help those unable to defend themselves–animals. Here’s what is really going on with Rhinos and other animals at some privately owned reserves.
In short, many of these reserves exist to attract American hunters interested in killing game that are not suppose to be hunted. There are also Rhino Ranches where large population of these magnificent animals live in crowded fenced in spaces for the sole purpose of ‘farming’ their horns to be exported to China. The horns grow back. As Bryan Christy says, these animals are “biologically dead” as they serve no purpose for their existence in the natural world. I would add that these beautiful beings have been sole murdered. He met one rancher that simply killed them for their horns. When asked about this the rancher said, they’re my property and I can do anything I want to to them. His karmic journey is not going to be a pretty one. What’s even more tragic is that South Africa is considering opening up the Rhino Horn Trade to the world. Do pick up a copy of the October 2016 National Geographic to read more.
Many people are working to change this and they need plenty of help.
The World Wildlife Fund is a great organization and is responsible for the protection of Rhinos. Do consider visiting their website and donate to your favorite endangered animals. As well as the Black and White Rhinos, consider the Indian Rhino (Great One Horned Rhino) who looks like an armored tank, the Sumatran Rhino, seriously endangered, and the Javan Rhino — only 50 of this Asian species are left. Three of the five rhino species all have a 5O% change of becoming extinct within 3 generations.
And check out saveanimalsfacingextinction.org and contribute to help these and many other animals facing extinction. Thank you.