Powdered rhino horn has been a staple of Vietnamese and Chinese medicine for millennia. Before given to patients with fever, there’s now a belief that it can cure cancer. Combine this incorrect belief with the new cash in emerging Asian markets and the willingness of organised crime to provide, then you’ve got a recipe for failure.
The rhino horn consists of the very same proteins that build human hair and fingernails. Unsurprisingly, scientists assert that there’s not any evidence to support its use as a medicine. Nevertheless tradition holds steadfast even in the face of proof and all attempts to convince Asian clients of this science fall on deaf ears.
As it now is estimated to make around $65,000 per kilo, placing in exactly the exact same class as narcotics, diamonds and precious metals, organised crime has’zeroed in’. They’re also able to use modern methods to shield their kills, such as helicopter raids and night vision technologies.
Game wardens are overwhelmed by the power of the onslaught. The morning brings the damn sight of yet another victim with its own horn sliced-off. The animal usually dies due to the attack, though a handful can cure their wounds and recover.
Obviously there has been a massive increase from the poaching statistics. Only a couple years back conservationists were less than delighted to report that 10-15 rhinos were being killed annually. But now the most recent figures for South Africa alone demonstrate that 668 animals were massacred last year. The poachers don’t discriminate between adults, juveniles and pregnant females.
The fightback Persists
They are working to increase coordination and cooperation between the various conservation groups, enforcement agencies and landholders. Policing has additionally been improved with enhanced instruction, use of sniffer dogs and increased patrols.
De-horning of the rhinos was carried-out by some game reserves. However, there remain some concerns about whether this is good practice. The horn’s length plays a role in the creatures’ pecking order, so removing the horn may interfere with social interaction. Additionally, some de-horned animals are slaughtered nevertheless. This could be pique on behalf of the poachers, or possibly they don’t want to risk pursuing the exact animals on future searches.
Game reserves also have begun to foster baby rhinos that have lost their mothers due to poaching.
The UK has led global talks leading to an agreement to decrease the rhino horn trade, in addition to battling the incorrect belief in its value as a curative.
In April last year a number of African Americans participate in a summit in Nairobi, headed by the Kenya Wildlife Service and the African Wildlife Foundation.
The Department 24 Rights Coalition is demanding that the South African authorities ceased issuing licences for trophy hunting. It is said that an investigation is required into possible abuses of this system. Having said that, the SA government did announce last year that there could be tighter regulation hunting. They also said that microchips would be utilized, together with DNA profiling, to be able to detect bogus searches.
Conservationists are optimistic that a recent deal between South Africa and Vietnam could be the beginning of serious attempts to reduce poaching. The 5-year arrangement covers seven chief features of cooperation, including the security of SA’s biodiversity and compliance with the international conventions to protect species. (In 2008 a Vietnamese diplomat was filmed getting illegal rhino horn out his embassy in SA.)
This saw delegates instructed to introduce measures to decrease the demand for rhino horn.
The steadfast refusal of Vietnamese and Chinese clients to be persuaded that the horn isn’t medication is driving some radical idea.
A group of researchers is stating that the illegality of trading in rhino horn has only served to improve rhino poaching by restricting its availability. They’ve suggested that the formerly taboo subject of shaving horn out of live animals should be seriously considered.
This notion has a parallel in crocodile farming, which the investigators state has served to help preserve the species. The lifting of the taboo on talks was also suggested in the Cites conference in March by South African delegates. But it’s hotly contested by some conservationists who say it would have the opposite effect of increasing demand. They also point to the effect of private game reserve owners who would make huge amounts of money from such a practice.
All of the initiatives described here demonstrate a determination to save the rhinoceros. If significant progress isn’t made in the fight against poaching, then this could occur within the decade.