Rhino poaching in South Africa

I was reading through the newspaper the other day and it struck me how rhino poaching is spiralling out of control in South Africa.

Black Rhinos are teetering on the edge of extinction (fewer than 5000 remain in the wild) with the white rhino following closely behind.  They are being killed at a crazy rate at the moment. Reason? Their horns are reputedly a great aphrodisiac and more recently they were rumoured to cure cancer. The horns are now officially worth more than gold. I know what I’d rather be wearing…

Apparently 30 rhinos have been killed this year already, 11 of which were in the Kruger National Park. Last year 488 were killed – that’s more than one a day!!! It’s an all time record. Half of these, again, were in the Kruger National Park.

Even though arrests are on the increase, the poachers always seem to be one step ahead. The sentence for rhino poaching has been increased to up to 16 years in prison but authorities say it isn’t enough to catch the actual poachers, it’s the big organisations and their king pins which need to be stopped.

It’s incredibly sad because the animal is often shot with a tranquilliser dart to bring it down and then the horn is butchered from it’s face with a chainsaw, leaving a huge gaping bloody hole. The animal wakes up in incredible pain and often doesn’t survive the incident.

There are many charities that are helping towards this cause and if you feel strongly enough to want to donate, the one to contact in South Africa is the ‘WWF South Africa’ on www.WWF.org.za

Because once they’re gone, they’re gone!


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