Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Warning: Graphic Images From The Rhino Wars!

"Why do you want my horn?"

Rhino horn is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine where it is ground up, then infused in boiling water and prescribed as a treatment for fever, rheumatism, gout and other disorders. It is also mistakenly believed to be an aphrodisiac. Now fetching $65,000 a kilo in Asia, a 6kg horn valued at $380,000 is powerful incentive for criminal Asian syndicates to fund illegal poaching operations in Africa and Asia. Corruption at various levels of Governments and all along the supply chain is extremely difficult to combat.  

Photo: Jim McIntosh
Scientifically, rhino horn is Keratin, the same as our hair, toe or fingernails. 
It has no medicinal benefits, but old beliefs, new rumours that rhino horn cures cancer, coupled with rising Chinese and Vietnamese affluence are driving up demand. Poaching skyrocketed after an ex-premier of Korea claimed in 2008 that rhino horn cured their cancer. Elle MacPherson, in 2010, stupidly quipped she used it as an anti-ageing cure. However the biggest myth-booster since 2007 has come from the Chinese government investing heavily in boosting its Traditional Chinese Medicine industry. And that is putting endangered wildlife everywhere under immense pressure. factsanddetails.com/china

The myth is growing that rhino horn cures almost anything. Criminal syndicates and TCM producers of rhino horn ''cures" boost this myth to drive up the demand and prices to make more profits. While many TCM organisations may openly state it is against their organisations' principles, human greed is what it is and unscrupulous members may still be involved. 
Rhino horn is not medicine!

Once rhino were found across Africa, Asia, North America and into Europe, now they are down to less than 27,000. How can rhino survive this onslaught?

Three species are critically endangered. 
The World's population today of the 5 species of rhino- White rhino: 20,000, Black rhino: 4,500, Greater One-horned rhino: 2,800, Sumatran Rhino: 200, Javan Rhino: 44. These figures are best estimates: some argue they are way too high. Plus if poaching continues its rapid escalation, losses from illegal kills will outstrip current natural breeding increases achieved with hard fought conservation programs over the past 40 years with Africa's White and Black Rhino.

In South Africa dedicated volunteers are being trained and deployed in game reserves to patrol and protect rhino. We are begging, pressuring, and petitioning governments to help fund the Anti-Poaching Units, and to effectively bring the criminal organisers to justice. The South African prosecution rates are abysmal with less than 5% of charges resulting in successful prosecutions, most of those against the lowest echelon of poachers -the poor poverty driven local poacher, - the ''minnows'' who are easily replaced. 
The organisers of the poaching rings need to be targeted worldwide with all resources available.
This is a responsibility of all governments, but the South African government needs show leadership and demonstrate its commitment to protecting its major tourism jewels - its wildlife! 

Photo: Wendy Warwick, Krugersdorp Game Reserve.
Meantime rhino are shot.

We are trying to get more APU's on the ground. They are very effective, and have captured many poachers. Some have been shot at themselves. They lay their lives out there with them.

Photo of  Umfurudzi Game Park staff inspection team by Jan Stander.
Rhino are trapped by wire snares that horrendously injure them and cause a long, slow death.

APU, SANParks and Game Reserve staff remove hundreds of illegal, cruel wire snares every day laid by local poachers.

At the other end of the scale, poaching is very quick and high tech, carried out by ex-military, ex-policemen, professional hunters and veterinarians using helicopters, latest thermal-imaging technology, tranquillizer dart guns, and chainsaws: very speedy and hard to combat unless APU's monitor rhino 24/7.


Chainsaws remove the horn from the drugged but living rhino, leaving it to wake to a living hell! TCM values the horn removed from a live rhino higher.

Calves are killed also.
The brutality by humans is unbelievable. Who deserves this planet?

Killing the calves means there are less rhino around which sends the price higher for each horn which drives the killings up by making it more profitable. A vicious circle. The Rhino War is heating up!

You can help!
There is a growing world movement of concerned groups that more people are joining to help end the slaughter. Rhino protection groups are in the forefront of pressuring governments to stop poaching now, by funding APU's, and to target the criminal organisers to bring an end to this appalling trade.

Anyone can search Facebook or Google search for rhino protection groups to join.

We need you to join facebook.com/groups/saveourrhino/ 

"Who cares for the calves that do survive a slaughter?"

Every caring game reserve owner will take on the task of caring for the young.  

In Kenya, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust cares for young rhinos and many orphan elephant calves. You can donate or even adopt any of the orphans. We have adopted 2 orphan elephants and each month we receive updates on their progress. Visits there are welcome. 

Stopping the trade is the responsibility of all governments, but the South African government needs to show leadership, and demonstrate its commitment to protecting its major tourism jewels - its wildlife! 

Sorry about the horrible graphic images, but this is the reality of the Rhino Wars.
We need the plight of rhino shared everywhere!
Use the share buttons below. Please!



photos by jan said...

Oh my gosh, I knew it was bad but this truly let's you know how bad. I have shared it 3 ways. thank you for the work you are doing. I am going back up to the facebook link as well. Jan. <3

Unknown said...

:(( So sad Jim... The images are heart breaking. I didn't read the whole story behind them... I'll be back a little later to fully read it. Need a tissue right now...


sheril benedict said...

OMG its really horrible .We have lots of Rhino in Assam .I Hope they don't do these kind of activities ..My job is to promote this post and create awareness ..

shutterbug said...

Please join our group on FaceBook "SAVE OUR RHINO" ... we have Anti Poaching Units on the ground right now! We need all the support we can get to help save our precious rhino!

Jeremy Branham said...

Jim, these photos are disturbing! What people really need is an education on "rhino horns are not medicine"! I hope people raise enough awareness that this practice stops.

Unknown said...

Hi Jim, the image with the graves and Rhino i created or our farm murders and the poached Rhino. thank you or using it.
Crystal Broughton