In America, we don’t hear too much about Poaching. How ever, in South Africa there is an ongoing war between Rhinos and Poachers. These poachers are killing Rhinos for their horns and hide (more specifically the horn) to sell on the Black Market. Rhino Horns are believed in many cultures to have healing abilities, and other places use them for decoration or jewelry. If you do a google search for Rhino Horns, you would be amazed to see all the news stories that pop up. I am reposting a serious of pictures and descriptions from National Geographic to share the importance of why poaching needs to stop, how people are trying to save these beautiful animals, and the seriousness of poaching. All images are by Brent Stirton.
Game scouts found this black rhino bull wandering Zimbabwe’s Savé Valley Conservancy after poachers shot it several times and hacked off both its horns. Veterinarians had to euthanize the animal because its shattered shoulder couldn’t support its weight. In the past six years poachers have killed more than a thousand African rhinos for their horns, which are smuggled to Asia for use in traditional medicines.
(This image by wwf)
Blindfolded and tranquilized, a black rhino is airlifted in a ten-minute helicopter ride from South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province to a waiting truck that will deliver it to a new home some 900 miles away. Designed to extricate the animals gently from difficult terrain, the airlifts are part of an effort to relocate endangered black rhinos to areas better suited to increasing their numbers as well as their range.
An eight-pound rhino horn like this one can reap up to $360,000 on the black market.
A white rhino calf romps with a juvenile in a game park holding pen in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province.
A decomposing rhino with its horns cut off lies where it was strangled in a poacher’s wire snare on a private game reserve not far from Kruger National Park in South Africa. Rangers staked out the site, but when the poacher didn’t return, reserve officials removed the horns.
A white rhino cow (at left) grazes with a bull that has become her companion after a poaching attack in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. Using a helicopter, a gang tracked her and her four-week-old calf, shot her with a tranquilizer dart, and cut off her horns with a chain saw. Rangers found her a week later, searching for her calf, which had died, probably of starvation and dehydration.
Cutting off the horn to save the rhino
A veterinarian cuts the horns from an anesthetized white rhino cow at a game farm in North-West Province, South Africa. The procedure takes about 20 minutes. Composed of keratin—the protein that is the basis for wool, feathers, beaks, and hooves—the two horns grow back in about two years.
Dehorned to deter poachers, a tame northern white rhino, one of only seven of the subspecies known to survive, grazes under the watch of rangers from Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Transferred along with three other northern whites from a zoo in the Czech Republic, the rhinos, which had not produced offspring in captivity, were brought to the wild in a last-ditch effort to breed them back from the brink of extinction.