Today is a sad day as reports out of South Africa state a record number of rhinos have been poached this year. To date, 1020 rhinos have died at the hands of poachers in South Africa alone, compared to last year when 1004 rhinos were killed.
Every year the number of deaths continues to rise which is very disturbing when in 2007 only 13 rhinos were poached in a whole year in Africa. It is a terrible illustration of the surging demand for rhino horn which is mostly consumed in Asia for prestige and spurious claims that it is an aphrodisiac or can cure cancer.
Rhino horn is made from keratin, the same protein that makes up our hair and nails which have no medicinal benefits, so these killings are senseless.
The poaching crisis in Africa and Asia is so extreme now that we could see the extinction of Rhinos in our lifetime. It soon will reach the point that wild populations cannot reproduce quickly enough to stay ahead of the killing.
Whilst conservation efforts in the wild continue, we need to do more and educate as many people as we can that the horn has no medicinal properties.
Our Zoos’ new Wildlife Witness App is one tool that everyone can download and become the eyes and ears of efforts to stop the slaughter: http://wildlifewitness.net/
By Rhino Supervisor, Jen Conaghan