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Plight of the African Rhinoceros

CONSERVATION STATUS: Critically Endangered

  • There are 2 species of African rhino
  • Rhinos can gallop up to 30miles per hour
  • Black rhino population down 6% since 1960

Where do rhinos live?

The African rhino is divided into two species, the black rhino and the white rhino. White rhinos mainly live in South Africa, but they have also been reintroduced to Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. Southern white rhinos have been introduced to Kenya, Zambia, and Cote d’Ivoire. The majority of the black rhino population—98%—is concentrated in four countries: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya. South Africa houses 40% of the total black rhino population. There are some black rhinos in the region spread between Cameroon and Kenya.

Challenges

Rhinos have become victims of organized crime.

In the wild, the adult black or white rhino has no predators except for humans. Rhinos are hunted and killed for their horns. The major demand for rhino horn is in Asia, where it is used in ornamental carvings and traditional medicine. Rhino horn is touted as a cure for hangovers, cancer, and impotence.  Their horns are not true horns; they are actually made of keratin—the same material that makes up our hair and nails. Truly, rhino horn is as effective at curing cancer as chewing on your fingernails.

Habitat loss is also a major threat to rhinos.

As human populations rise and cities grow, logging, agriculture, roads, and settlements destroy rhino habitats.

Solutions to saving the rhino from extinction:

Engage the public.

Conservation organizations and governments need to spread public awareness about the illegal rhino horn trade, the horrors of poaching, and dwindling rhino populations. Engage the public to bring attention to the atrocities of rhino poaching and dispel myths about rhino horn. You can also help spread the word.

Give rhinos a sanctuary.

Provided the sanctuary with camera traps, which once caught potential poachers on camera, to monitor rhinos.

Recruit wildlife scouts.

Recruit, train, and equip wildlife scouts who protect the rhino from poachers. Wildlife scouts are familiar with landscapes, wildlife, and community members. As insiders, they are able to quickly identify any suspicious activity. They monitor rhinos—and other wildlife—and work with local authorities to help them apprehend poachers and even identify would-be poachers.

Work with the legal system.

Strengthen law enforcement, curbing demand and trade, and reaching out to influence policy makers and legal entities. There is need legal entities to come up with harsher penalties for wildlife-related crimes.

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