Rhino’s have been in the news a lot lately so it feels like a good time to give you all a heads up with what the gossip is! Disturbingly the news is not too positive.
Last year saw the relocation of four Northern White Rhino’s back to Africa in an effort to sustain and improve their species before they go extinct. On a more positive note things are still progressing fantastically well with the Northern White Rhinos at Ol Pejeta Conservancy. In the Serengeti National Park in South Africa we hear of the incredible story of conservationist and Rhino expert Berry White who had to act quickly before a bush fire swept over the rhino cabins housing Black Rhinos that could have been killed or seriously injured during acclimatization.
Ivory smuggling is forever the biggest and only issue to the devastation of Rhino (and Elephant) numbers around the world. Illegal trafficking in endangered wildlife is permanently a worry for conservationists and organisations who are trying to combat this illegal trade. The fact that these animals are becoming increasingly rare means that the due to decreasing supplies the price of these creatures, dead or alive, are increasing exponentially. The main culprit is still China which continues to believe that animals provide some kind of magic cure to ill-health. Since Africa contains most of these ‘medicinal’ animals it remains an almost impossible task to control the trade, especially with Africa being a highly corrupt country.
The past year has seen an increased number of Rhino’s shot and killed by poachers. In Africa this has even been the case in what most people might think would be a safe place for some of the rarest animals on earth, Kruger National Park in South Africa. When people think of poachers they envision the old-fashioned amateur, cheap labourer sent out by a Mafia to shoot and kill animals for their horns, which are more expensive than gold. The truth today, however, is quite different. Vast networks of criminals link the bridge between the suppliers and the buyers and arm their poachers with hi-tech machinery, including the latest communication devices, helicopters, laser-sighted rifles and night-vision goggles. Luckily the park rangers get some kind of revenge once in a while and they manage to kill a few poachers.
Hopefully 2011 will see an improvement in Rhino numbers and a decrease in trafficking and poaching for ivory and other animal parts. Make sure you show your support for these great animals by learning about them and protecting them.