Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Mourning the Rhino
I thought hard about whether I should post the image below. It's very painful to look at. A baby rhino mourning its mother, just killed by poachers for its horn.
The rhino as a species is being wiped out. They are only found now in a few places in Africa. The only ones not in jeopardy are under 24 hour armed guard.
Why are poachers willing to risk their lives to kill one of these creatures to gets its horn? The answer is well known. Traditional medicine markets in Asia, particularly in China, value powdered rhino horn as a medicinal cure. It fact, a rhino's horn is the same stuff as your fingernails. It has zero curative value. But the demand is still the there, The fewer rhinos there are, the more people are willing to pay. Another market is in the Middle East in places like Yemen, where wealthy young men wear ceremonial daggers. A dagger handle made of carved rhino horn is a prized status symbol. The fewer rhinos there are, the more a guy with money to burn is willing to pay to have his rhino horn dagger.
Sure, you can put the blame on the poachers. But let's get real. Most of those guys are uneducated and desperately poor. One rhino horn can fetch them enough income to feed the family for a decade. It's no wonder they are willing to put their lives at risk.
It's a very sad circumstance, but it's hard to be optimistic about the future of this magnificent species when the human population of the African continent is growing rapidly, faster than any place else on Earth.
Here is a link to Save the Rhino... http://www.savetherhino.org/