As a whole, the world’s five species of rhinos make up the most critically endangered large animal group on the planet.
This is due to the relentless illegal killing of rhinos for their horns for use in traditional Chinese medicine, despite the fact that scientific analysis has proven there are no health benefits to consuming rhino horn.
Melinda MacInnis has made this video in the hopes of raising awareness about this global crisis and is in the process of having it translated into over a dozen languages including Vietnamese, Cantonese, and Mandarin.
Help educate others about the rhino crisis by watching and sharing the “Rhino Wars” video:
THE RHINO WARS
Written by Melinda MacInnis
Edited by Jim Aikman
There’s a war going on… the Rhino Wars.
And this war will determine whether rhinos continue to exist on this planet or not.
World rhino populations have declined over 90% since 1970.
But this loss is not the same as with other endangered animals that are disappearing
because of climate change, or overt habitat loss, or because we eat them.
Or even from a mysterious disease.
Rhinos are disappearing for one main reason.
Humans are killing them for their horns to be sold on the international black market for use in traditional Chinese medicine.
And because of this illegal practice, all five species of rhino are at risk of extinction.
As late as the 1900′s, there were hundreds of thousands of African Black Rhinos roaming across southern Africa.
There are now approximately 4,860 left in the world.
The greater one-horned rhino once ranged across the entire Indio-Gangetic Plain.
But today, this species exists only in protected areas in Nepal and Northeast India. And in zoos.
There are approximately 3,000 greater one-horned rhinos remaining.
The Sumatran Rhino is a descendent of the Great Woolly Rhino. This means its lineage has survived for over 15 million years.
The use of rhino horn in traditional Chinese medicine has reduced its numbers to less than 200.
Of the Javan Rhino – once the most widespread of them all – fewer than 50 individuals remain in existence.
Today the Javan Rhino is the most endangered large animal in the world… unless, of course, you count the Northern White Rhino.
There are only seven of this White Rhino subspecies left.
There used to be more Northern White Rhino in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that conservation groups were working to save, but the war there made this impossible, and in 2005 poachers killed every last one.
Thankfully, intensive conservation efforts have brought the Southern White Rhino back from numbers as low as 200 to approximately 18,000 to 20,000 today.
But 93% of Southern White Rhinos are located in just one country – South Africa – and with the return of the Rhino Wars, poachers are now killing these magnificent creatures at the rate of more than 1 a day – sparking an international crisis.
And it’s not pretty – this illegal poaching. It’s violent and horrific. Poachers use AK-47s, chainsaws, machetes, butchering tools…
A new trend is to shoot rhinos with tranquilizer darts so that park rangers aren’t alerted by gun fire.
Poachers then butcher the rhino for its horns while its still alive, leaving the animal to wake up in agony, without its horns, to slowly bleed to death.
WHY, you might ask? Why would anyone do this?
It’s not for food. People don’t eat rhino meat.
It’s not for clothing.
It’s because rhino horn is worth more than its weight in gold on international black markets, selling for almost $60,000 a kilogram.
All because some believe that rhino horn holds “medicinal” properties.
Two thousand years ago, in traditional Chinese medicine rhino horn powder was prescribed for reducing fevers, getting rid of boils, and casting out demons.
In reality, rhino horn is simply made of compacted hair.
It contains little more than keratin and calcium – the same ingredients found in human hair and nails.
And three international studies have proven that rhino horn holds zero medicinal properties for humans.
Rhino horn doesn’t bring down fever, or improve longevity, or increase your libido.
It doesn’t cure cancer or HIV.
It’s just an animal horn.
Yet, due to superstition and greed, ounce for ounce, rhino horn is now the most expensive illegal substance in the word today.
2011 saw an unprecedented rise of museums across Europe and Africa being robbed of their rhino exhibitions, and 2012 sees the crimes continuing.
Park rangers in Africa, India, and Southeast Asia risk their lives every day to protect this rare creature.
Zoos may be targeted next.
But wait! Don’t get depressed! This is a solvable problem!
We can save this iconic creature. You just took the first step: You spent a few minutes to educate yourself.
Here’s what you can do next….
Help fund education campaigns, support National Parks, game reserves, and organizations around the world that help protect the world’s remaining rhinos.
Through education, legislation, and the development of a global voice – we can save the rhino from extinction.