There are people who look at this face and notice only the horns. They believe, despite ample evidence to the contrary, that it can cure a host of ailments and they are willing to pay huge sums of money to get it. Even more ridiculously the ability to acquire these horns is in itself being seen as a symbol of wealth and status, something to aspire to. They don’t care that this animal will be savagely killed and disfigured so that they can consume a product that has no more curative powers than their own hair and fingernails, and then even boast about it!
There are people who look at this face and notice the eyes. The eyes of an animal that has been on this planet much longer than we have. We count ourselves among these people. We believe that this animal has just as much of a right to live on this planet as humans do. We believe the world will be an emptier, less beautiful place if this animal is no longer around. We want this animal to share this planet with many more generations of humans to come. Some of us even put their own lives on the line on a daily basis to achieve this goal.
This year alone, South Africa has already lost more than 635 rhinos to poaching (2013/09/13 Department of Environmental Affairs). Last year, a total of 668 fell to the poachers’ bullets in this country alone. There are many people and organisations working tirelessly to prevent poaching and to educate people around the world, often at great cost and risk to themselves, and if it weren’t for their efforts we have no doubt that the situation would have been much more dire still.
Click on the World Rhino Day poster below if you’d like to learn more about what people and organisations around the world are doing to secure the future of the five species of rhinoceros we share this planet with.