In 2010 more rhinos were killed by poachers in South Africa than ever before. A total of 333 rhinos. Nearly one a day for an entire year!
Planet Earth does not have that many to spare. All but one of the remaining 5 species of rhino are very much endangered. Africa is home to both Black rhinos and White rhinos.
Population estimates for rhinos are as follows:
Black rhino: 4,240
White rhino: 18,000
Greater One-horned rhino: 2,800-2,850
Sumatran Rhino: 200
Javan Rhino: 40-50
If you find it surprising that rhino poaching has risen in the year 2010, let alone in a year that begins with a 2 you aren't alone. Wildlife poaching has developed with the times and technology. As reported in a recent World Wildlife Fund press release:
"Today's wildlife poachers are well coordinated and employ advanced technologies. Their sophisticated criminal networks use helicopters, night-vision equipment, veterinary tranquilizers and silencers to kill rhinos at night--attempting to avoid military and law enforcement patrols."
What do poachers do with the rhinos they kill?
They saw off the rhino's horn to sell. Usually they leave the rest of the body where it fell.
Who is buying this grisly prize?
Once again it is the "traditional Asian medicine" crowd. We don't mean to sound like a broken record here, but you guys are responsible for population decline in numerous species and well...people are still getting cancer and losing their "virility" so perhaps it's time to hang up the hat on this.
28 days into 2011 and 5 more rhinos have been lost to poachers.
Read more about rhinos at http://www.rhinos-irf.org/
ESPP supports the conservation efforts of the International Rhino Foundation in Asia with "Diminishing Returns" Christopher Reiger's print of the Javan rhino.