The world marks World Rhino Day on the 22nd of September each year which is a day to sensitize the world on the importance of conserving rhinos. Rhinos, and especially white rhinos, are an endangered species and we all need to rally behind calls to end rhino poaching. Rhinos are poached for their horns which are mostly traded in Asia and utilized for ‘traditional medicine’. The trade of rhino horns is illegal and it is unfortunate that in the 21st Century we still face this colossal problem that further propagates the endangerment of the species.
Rhinos: The Pride of Africa
Rhinos are the pride of Africa. They are mainly found in South Africa and Kenya and have been consistently poached over the last few decades. Colonialism further exacerbated the poaching of rhinos, with colonialists poaching them and encouraging rhino poaching as trophy hunts. Today, rhinos are mainly poached in South Africa, with numerous conservation groups and organizations decrying the practice. The World Wildlife Fund, WWF, for instance, has fought so hard to ensure that rhino poaching is mitigated and done away with in Sub-Saharan Africa.
However, their efforts and others of animal welfare organizations have been frustrated over and over again as some of the communities living near parks are impoverished and many feel that poaching is the only way to earn some income. A good reason for this is inequality in places such as South Africa where land ownership is a contentious issue as colonialism saw white settlers occupy most of the land. To bring this into perspective, 70% of the land in South Africa is owned by white people.
Asian Demand for Rhino Horns and Rhino Products
On the other end of the poaching spectrum sits Asian nations, chief among them China, which propagate the demand for rhino horns for use in ‘traditional medicine’. Buyers of rhino horns and rhino products may not realize the catastrophe that acquiring said horns creates back in Africa and elsewhere in the world. We decry the sale or purchase of rhino horns and rhino products in the strongest terms possible. It is disgusting, uncalled for, and unfortunate plunder against Africa and its natural resources.
STOP RHINO POACHING. STOP THE ILLEGAL TRADE IN RHINO HORNS AND RHINO PRODUCTS!
No medicine comes from the wrongful and illegal killing of innocent animals. No good can come from such a practice and it is about time that rhino poaching came to an end. Numerous poachers and wildlife rangers have lost their lives also due to the practice, and it is not only the animals that are suffering due to illegal poaching. Entire communities are losing their sons and fathers and there is no justification for rhino poaching.
Be a Rhino for a Day
Imagine being born a rhino and ending up being killed just for a worthless horn attached to your snout. We talk of racism and all these other ills but fail to consider the plight of innocent animals. Don’t we want our children and grandchildren to enjoy seeing rhinos and our natural heritage? Kenya has done quite well in rhino conservation as it is reported that 2020 saw no rhino poaching in the country. Even so, countries such as South Africa are still reeling from rhino poaching and a lot needs to be done to end it. There is no other way, it has to end immediately!
South Africa must tackle inequality and ensure that communities living near parks are empowered with alternative means of generating income. Poachers must, however, also be prosecuted according to law, and those that are armed and endanger the lives of game rangers dealt with accordingly. We cannot continue like this and we need action against rhino poaching now!