The call to save is getting stronger and stronger every day. The natives of the great South African grasslands are under attack! The Rhinoceros population in South Africa is under persistent threat from human greed. It is a sad thing that vicious poachers brutally hunt down these gentle giants of the wild, just for their horns. The horn, found on both male and female animals is widely sought after due to a voodoo belief in Vietnam! It really seems very weird, given the geographical distance between South Africa and Vietnam. Nevertheless, it is still a bloody reality, undeniable in the face of numbers.
Only by planning a collaborative effort from forest guards, ranch owners, dedicated veterinarians, and animal lovers all around the world, something good happens. Alternative conservation methods of rehabilitating orphaned baby rhinos to wildlife habitats out of South Africa is being hailed as a safe solution. The Texan grasslands or the ranches in the Rocky Mountain region are definitely potential locations where the animals can be safe.
A situation at hand
In the last decade itself, about 7000 of these massive herbivores died painfully in the South African grasslands. On a hopeful note, there has been a significant drop in these bloody numbers in 2018. The Department of Environmental Affairs released the numbers of dead animals to 769 in 2018. This is considerably less than the 1028 animals killed in 2017. The thank you goes to the dedicated efforts of conservationists. However, there is no time for being complacent. Indeed, it is a red alert situation because the Great White Rhino is at the very verge of extinction. As it is, rampant corruption poses a major obstacle, and it needs to be tackled. There have been investigative reports of members of forest guards, judiciary, and other officials being bought by poachers.
For no reason really
Looking down at the root of the problem, it is about voodoo belief and greed. Precisely, a lot of money is in circulation in this illegal business. Measured by weight, the rhino horn is more valuable than diamond or gold! What’s most surprising is that this belief about the horn’s concoction does not have any scientific basis. Many Vietnamese people widely believe that a medicine prepared from this is a cure-all potion, even effective in cancer.
A report from Vietnam reveals that many of these traders also believe that the preparation is a strong aphrodisiac. However, common sense plainly dictates that the horn is merely a natural deposition of keratin. This is the same natural substance that makes up the nails of your fingers. Just ask yourself this following question. Can you cut your nails, ground them to a fine powder, whip up some kind of a paste with it, and consume it? Do you really believe that something that is cut and thrown away is a helpful medicine? Keratin is made up of dead cells, which is the reason why it does not hurt when the nail is cut. How can a redundant portion of the body assimilate helpfully into the body?
Apart from these baseless beliefs, the horn is understood as a status symbol. Well, in a side note, anything whose possession can take you to jail because of illegal trading is not much of a status symbol anyway! It is actually important to furnish these basic logical conclusions to stop the very reasons that justify the illegal trading.
Conservationist efforts from South Africa are putting to practice a new strategy. Experienced vets are making sure that rhino horns are cut down, without causing any harm to the animal. With the very prize of the illegal hunt removed, poachers are bound to lose interest in the game. This strategy seemed to have worked, as evident from the drop in the numbers in 2018. The biggest South African ranch owner of Rhinoceros is actually trying to make the horn trade legal, under the condition of expert supervision. This is a rather contended issue though.
There are ethical concerns. It is unfortunate that a wild beast has to lose a body part just because of nothing! Nevertheless, it can still serve as a last-ditch effort to save the beast, in the face of the failure from officials. Expert vets clarify that de-horning is no more of a painful process than cutting nails. Of course, the animal must be under the effect of calculated tranquilizer. The people doing the dehorning process must be expert hands at the job. Interested ranch owners in the US seeking to care for these animals outside their native land can take their clues from their South African counterparts.
Given the financial value of this horn trade, it is crucial not to lose to temptations. After all, the animal does not need the money! If made legal, this money can be used to farther strengthen conservation efforts. Many dedicated people all over the world are trying their best to save these great animals. However, that is not enough! More people should be made aware of the value of their support in stopping this illegal trade.