“Only when the last of the animal’s horns, tusks, skin and bones are sold, will Mankind realize that money can never buy back our wildlife.” – Wild at Heart. Good morning to my teacher and fellow classmates. Poaching has traditionally been defined as the illegal hunting, killing, or capturing of wild animals.today my main focus will be on the poaching of rhinoceouras.. Rhinos were once abundant throughout Africa and Asia with an approximated worldwide population of 500 000 in the early twentieth century. However, despite intensive conservation efforts, poaching of this iconic species is dramatically increasing, pushing the remaining rhinos closer and closer towards extinction.Three out of five species classified as critically endangered. However rhino poaching has reached a crisis point, and if the killing continues at this rate, we could see rhino deaths overtaking births in 2016-2018, meaning rhinos could go extinct in the very near future. Poaching incidents rose by 440% between 2008 and 2014
The current poaching crisis is attributed to the growing demand for rhino horn in Asian countries, mainly Vietnam and China. Rhinoceros horns are used in traditional Asian medicine, and for dagger handles in Yemen and Oman. Vietnam has been identified as the largest user country of rhino horn. Although rhino horn has no scientific medical benefits, consumers are using it to treat a wide range of conditions, from cancer to hangovers, and due to its high value it is now also used as a status symbol by wealthy individuals. Rhino horn, is shaved or ground into a powder and dissolved in boiling water and consumed by the patient. As South African is home to the majority of rhinos in the world it is being heavily targeted by poachers. The country is home to 73% of the world’s rhino The scarcity of rhinos today and the availability of rhino horn only drives the price higher, and intensifies the pressure on the declining rhino populations. For people whose annual income is often far below the subsistence level, the opportunity to change one’s life by killing an animal that they don’t value is overwhelming. .
The high price fetched for the horn has attracted the involvement of ruthless criminals who use high-tech equipment to track down and kill the rhinos. The price of the rhino horn varies from $65,000 to $100,000 a kilogram Penalties for rhino poaching are becoming increasingly severe and frequent. A multi-faceted approach is required including ongoing anti-poaching and monitoring patrols, community conservation and environmental education schemes, captive breeding, translocations and demand reduction projects in Asia. To prevent poaching, in certain areas, rhinos have been tranquilized and their horns removed. Poachers are now being supplied by international criminal gangs with sophisticated equipment to track and kill rhinos. Often they use a tranquiliser gun to bring the rhino down and hack of its horn leaving the rhino to wake up and bleed to death very painfully and slowly.
Poachers are also often armed with guns making them very dangerous for the anti-poaching teams who put their lives on the line to protect rhinos. Anti-poaching rangers form the first and last line of defence for rhinos. It is an incredibly difficult and dangerous job, without the right training, equipment, management and support they cannot defend rhinos. anti-poaching ranger patrols reduce the level of poaching and increase the chances of catching rhino poachers. These rangers need support by providing equipment to enable them to do their jobs and training. Rhinos as we know them have been around for millions of years and it is heart-breaking to realise that the world’s rhinos are being eliminated from the face of the earth in the name of medications that probably don’t work.