If Rhinoceroses could understand the human language, imagine trying to explain to them that the reason they are being hunted into extinction is that we as a race have decided that horn sticking out of their face is worth truckloads of money.
$65,000 per kilo, to be exact… much more valuable than most minerals, jewellery or illegal drugs.
The Vietnamese – along with other Southeast Asian countries – are the main culprits, as they believe the rhino horn to be some kind of magic medicine for anything from serious medical conditions to mild headaches.
This rising demand on the black market has gone hand-in-hand with an increase in illegal poaching of rhinos across Africa in the last decade. In the last 12 months alone, over 393 rhinos have been killed illegally in South Africa… yes, that’s JUST South Africa.
Perhaps now you can understand why military-trained Kenyan guards have been enlisted to protect the last handful of Northern White Rhinos 24/7.
The inhumanity doesn’t end there, either. As if killing an innocent animal for the illegal sale of one of its body parts in the black market isn’t cruel enough, in many cases the evidence suggests the horn was hacked off while the rhino was still alive.
The authorities are trying all kinds of increasingly desperate methods for preventing the illegal poaching of rhinos – from drones hovering around all over the place to keep surveillance to actually poisoning rhinos’ horns to render them useless to poachers – but the rate of rhinos being killed doesn’t appear to be slowing down at all.
At this rate, every species of rhinoceros could be extinct by 2035.