Rhinos are listed as being critically endangered with only 29,500 rhinos left on Earth!
Alarming to understand that this wonderful specie that have been around for millions of years, representing 500,000 rhinos at the beginning of the 20th century, fell to 29,000. Beyond their incredible history, conservation of these umbrella species protect many other species. When you save a rhino, you save an ecosystem!
Let’s remind that an ecosystem is a biological environment made up of all the animals and plants living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving, physical parts of the environment (like air, soil, water, and sunlight). All organisms within an ecosystem are linked and have an impact on each other. Rhinos, like all animals, exist within an ecosystem, our ecosystems.
The 5 EMK “must know” bullets about Rhinos
- Rhinos have been on earth for millions of years. It is not just an umbrella specie that keeps our ecosystem, it is also part of our history and legacy
- The name rhinoceros means ‘nose horn’ and is often shortened to rhino. It comes from the Greek words rhino(nose) and ceros (horn).
- White rhinoceros are the second largest land mammal.The white rhino is the largest rhino species and can weigh over 3500 kg. It is the largest land mammal after the elephant.
- There are five different species of rhinos. South Africa is home about 70 percent of the 29,500 rhinos left on Earth. Rhino’s species are spread across two continents African and Asia. The white rhino, with 20,400 remaining; the black, with 5,250 including the greater one-horned, the Sumatran and the Javan.
- Three of the five rhinoceros’ species are listed as being critically endangered. The Black Rhinoceros, Javan Rhinoceros and Sumatran Rhinoceros have 50% chance of becoming extinct in three generations. There are fewer than 100 Sumatran rhinos left in the wild.
The Rhino Crisis
For more than 2000 years, the traditional Chinese medicine has been using rhino horn to treat fever, rheumatism, gout, and other disorders. The tradition states that the horn could also cure snakebites, hallucinations, typhoid, headaches, carbuncles, vomiting, food poisoning, and “devil possession.”
As Richard Ellis, author of “Tiger bone and rhino horn” wrote for the EAZA Rhino Campaign’s Info Pack: “It is not clear that rhino horn serves any medicinal purpose whatsoever, but it is a testimony to the power of tradition that millions of people believe that it does”.
Rhino horns are similar in structure to horses’ hooves and turtle beaks. They are made of keratin, in rhinoceros horn it is chemically complex and contains large quantities of Sulphur, containing amino acids and the salts calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate.
Rhino poaching has been increasing in recent years
This “poaching” is driven by the demand for rhino horn in Asian countries, particularly Vietnam. It is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine but more and more commonly as a status symbol to display success and wealth.
This traffic had created a business. A business that sponsor the end of this specie by killing rhinos illegally, dehorning rhinos, trading in rhino horn, racketeering, and other crimes. The scarcity drives the price higher, and intensifies the pressure on the rhino populations. For most of this people with low income chasing a rhino horn change their lives. Often they use a tranquilizer gun to bring the rhino down and hack of its horn leaving the rhino to wake up and bleed to death very painfully and slowly.
A survey carried out by TRAFFIC in 2013 identified that the motivation for consumers buying rhino horn is the emotional benefits rather than medicinal, as it reaffirms their social status.
Rhino horns are sometimes bought for the sole purpose of being gifted to others; to family members, business colleagues or people in positions of authority.
I respect traditions, they are part of our culture but killing animals cruelly for something that have been shown to be useless. It is not a good reason to end with an amazing specie.
Rhinos have been around for millions of years. It is heartbreaking to realize that rhinos are being eliminated from the face of the earth.
Please share, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” Aldous Huxley
Just found today Jackie Chan campaign, let’s spread the message https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yccID-2jlfM