Today, we tend to think of ourselves as being aware of how fragile the earth is and how we need to protect different endangered species on our planet. We look back in history and read about examples of where man wiped out species such as the dodo with incredulity.
But, in fact, man’s stupidity and lack of respect for other species still continues today. Figures from the Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa, show this is exactly what’s happening to the rhino population.
From being an abundant species throughout Africa and Asia, rhino numbers have dwindled dramatically during the last century. In the early twentieth century, there was a worldwide population of around 500,000 rhinos, but in 2011, the Western black rhino was declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. There are five other rhino species that remain, but they are all listed as threatened species, and three of those are listed as critically endangered.
The main cause for rhinos being endangered is poaching and the figures shared by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs shows just how devastating the effect of poaching is on the rhino population.
83% of rhinos in Africa are found in South Africa; this represents 73% of the worldwide population
In 2000, only six rhinos were poached in South Africa; the number poached in 2012 was 668, and 1004 in 2013.
In the first six months of 2014, 496 rhinos were poached in South Africa.
Why poach rhinos?
The figures above are for South Africa only, but poaching is on the rise across the rest of the African continent too. In Kenya, for example, between January and August 2013, 34 rhinos were poached.
The main reason rhinos are poached is to profit from the illegal trade of rhino horn. The horn is seen as having medicinal properties in the Far East – in countries like China and Vietnam. As the price for rhino horn soars, so the poaching methods become ever more sophisticated, with criminal syndicates supplying high-tech equipment to track and hunt down the rhinos.
What’s being done about it?
If rhino poaching continues at the same levels, by 2016-18, it has been estimated that the number of rhino deaths would overtake the number of births, meaning that extinction is a very real possibility.
However, there is a surge of support to save the rhino, and this includes community conservation and environmental schemes and organisations such as Save the Rhino International. The penalties for rhino poaching are more severe than they used to be and there have been more arrests for rhino poaching in recent years. There are also captive breeding schemes to help boost the population of rhinos.
Corporates like Gambling Africa are supporting the crusade against rhino poaching by matching donations made to conservation organisations like Save the Rhino International. To find out more about its work to protect the rhinos contact GamblingAfrica.com. This kind of corporate support and documentary films like Gambling on Extinction have helped to inform the world’s population about what’s happening to endangered species such as rhinos, elephants and tigers, and in turn we all can take our own actions to help protect these endangered species.
For example, we can all support the organisations that work to protect rhinos by making donations and by helping spread the word via social media on what is happening to the endangered species in our world.
It’s too late for the Western black rhino, which has already been declared extinct, but we can still help save the other rhino species in the world. Act now, before it’s too late.
In the early twentieth century, there was a worldwide population of around 500,000 rhinos, but in 2011, the Western black rhino http://time.com/9446/western-black-rhino-declared-extinct/ was declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
To find out more about its work to protect the rhinos contact GamblingAfrica.com. This kind of corporate support and documentary films like Gambling on Extinction