Poaching is the primary threat to Rhino numbers in the wild. Stopping this cruel practice will require multiple approaches including protection, education and relocation.
If you’ve never had the chance to see a rhino up close and personal then I suggest you add it to your bucket list. Most people have probably seen them at the zoo because not everyone can make it over to Africa in their lifetime. It is definitely on my bucket list to see this animal in its natural environment and in some way to spread the word about their extinction. I can now check one of those off my bucket list…
You may be thinking, why are rhino’s endangered? The number one cause of rhino deaths in Africa and Asia is due to poaching. There are only five remaining species of rhino left and they are all classified as threatened species by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The poaching of rhinos for their horn has escalated in Africa due to the dwindling number of rhinos in Asian countries, which has increased the dollar paid for rhino horn. Rhino horn is used in traditional Chinese medicine and as a symbol to display wealth in Asian countries. There has also been an increase in demand for rhino horn in Vietnam where it is dubbed as a “hangover cure.” Just about everyone has had to deal with a hangover at one time or another and our methods of getting over them involve sleep, water, and greasy food. This can vary depending on the person, but never have I ever heard of someone using rhino horn to cure a hangover. Stop using rhino horn for your own selfish reasons and suck it up like the rest of us.
According to, savetherhino.org, numbers have increased from 13 – 1,215 poached rhino’s from 2007 – 2014. As of April 30th 2015, this is the first year of declining numbers in poaching’s after eight years straight. I personally believe it has declined because there are just not enough rhino’s left to poach but that is just my own theory.
By now I am hoping you are worried and concerned for this endangered creature; Therefore, I will talk about some ways conservationists are trying to save the remaining rhino’s.
Having rangers patrol areas where rhino’s live would be one helpful way to keep poachers at bay. The rangers would need to be trained and armed with the right equipment to keep the rhino’s and themselves safe. The right training will need to be implemented for this process to be successful which will result in opportunities for employment.
Continuously monitoring and tracking rhino’s is a way to gage how many rhino’s there are. They can also see whether a rhino died off due to habitat or poaching. If the data shows that poaching has been occurring they can relocate the animal if need be. This data is especially helpful to collect to measure the progress of growth rates for rhino’s.
Education is another piece of the puzzle to keep rhino’s from becoming extinct. We need to educate as many as we can today along with the children of the future. They need to understand how extinction of rhino’s and any other animal can impact our environment, and what they can do to help conserve and grow rhino populations.
The demand for rhino horn is extremely high; therefore, continuous awareness about the issue must be brought to attention. Also, working with policy makers on banning trafficking of rhino horn can help against the fight.
Bring communities together to be educated on the wildlife that lives around them. If the community is involved in the process, they will feel much stronger about protecting the wildlife around them. Some ways to include the community would be by letting them be researchers and tour guides for tourists, using their craft to aid in conservation or selling their craft to conservationists or depending on the craft – sell it to tourists. Let them help make decisions about conservation when it comes to the land they live on and give them some say, put them in charge, hear their stories, and let them learn and begin to love animals by education and hands-on opportunities.
This involves vets and a special team to capture a rhino and move it to a safe location. Sedation must be used on the animal to be able to capture it and relocate it safely with minimal stress. Before the animal is released back into the wild it is taken to an enclosure where the vet can check the rhino to make sure the rhino is healthy enough to fend for itself.
Protected Conservation Areas
The conservation areas look identical to the rhino’s natural habitat except this land is a protected sanctuary for them. They are free to roam and forage as they please and don’t have to worry about poachers.
These are just some ways conservationists are trying to save rhino’s from extinction. There are plenty of opportunities for you to help from your own home. Building awareness is the biggest and easiest one to do from home. Social media and the internet allow for easy access to articles, information, friends, emails, likes/shares, etc and all you have to do is find it and post it.
Contributed by Nikela Volunteer Elizabeth Howells
Alyssa, Shellie. “What Is Being Done to Stop the Rhino from Becoming Extinct?” Animals.mom.me. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2015. <http://animals.mom.me/being-done-stop-rhino-becoming-extinct-11707.html>
“Poaching: The Statistics.” Save The Rhino. © 2015 Save the Rhino International, n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2015. <https://www.savetherhino.org/rhino_info/poaching_statistics>.
“Conservation Activities.” Save The Rhino. © 2015 Save the Rhino International, n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2015. <https://www.savetherhino.org/our_work/conservation_activities>.
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