Location: Kruger National Park, South Africa
Adult rhinoceros have no real predators in the wild, other than humans. Young rhinos can however fall prey to big cats
, wild dogs
, and hyenas
Although rhinos are large and have a reputation for being tough, they are very easily poached; they visit water holes daily and can be easily killed while they drink. As of December 2009, poaching increased globally while efforts to protect the rhino are considered increasingly ineffective. The worst estimate, that only 3% of poachers are successfully countered, is reported of Zimbabwe
. Apparently, only Nepal
has avoided the crisis, while poachers become more sophisticated. About 69% of Rhino in the world are inhabituated in Nepal
South African officials have called for urgent action against poaching after poachers killed the last female rhino in the Krugersdorp Game Reserve
. Statistics from South African National Parks
show that 333 rhinoceros were killed in South Africa in 2010, increasing to 668 by 2012, and over 1,004 in 2013. In some cases rhinos are drugged and their horns removed, while in other instances more than the horn is taken.
government and Save the Rhino International
have been positive about the benefits that rhino trophy hunting may hold for conservation. Hunting licenses for five Namibian Black rhinos are auctioned annually. Some conservationists and members of the public however oppose or question this practice.
Horn trade and use
Rhinoceros horns, unlike those of other horned mammals (which have a bony core
), only consist of keratin
. Rhinoceros horns are used in traditional Asian medicine
, and for dagger handles in Yemen
. Esmond Bradley Martin
has reported on the trade for dagger handles in Yemen
. The market for rhino horn is however largely driven by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine
who consider the horn an effective and even live-saving medicine.
It is a pervasive misconception that rhinoceros horn in powdered form is used as an aphrodisiac
in Traditional Chinese Medicine
(TCM) as Cornu Rhinoceri Asiatici
, "rhinoceros horn"). It is in fact prescribed for fevers and convulsions, a treatment not supported by evidence-based medicine
. Discussions with TCM practitioners to reduce its use have met with mixed results because some TCM doctors consider rhino horn a life-saving medicine of better quality than its substitutes. China has signed the CITES
treaty and removed rhinoceros horn from the Chinese medicine pharmacopeia
, administered by the Ministry of Health, in 1993. In 2011, in the United Kingdom
, the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine
issued a formal statement condemning the use of rhinoceros horn. A growing number of TCM educators have also spoken out against the practice.
To prevent poaching, in certain areas, rhinos have been tranquilized and their horns removed. Armed park rangers, particularly in South Africa, are also working on the front lines to combat poaching, sometimes killing poachers who are caught in the act. A recent spike in rhino killings has made conservationists concerned about the future of the species. An average sized horn can bring in as much as a quarter of a million dollars in Vietnam and many rhino range states have stockpiles of rhino horn.
Still, poaching is hitting record levels due to demands from China and Vietnam.
In March 2013, some researchers suggested that the only way to reduce poaching would be to establish a regulated trade based on humane and renewable harvesting from live rhinos.
however opposes legalization of the horn trade, as it may increase demand, while IFAW
released a report by EcoLarge
, suggesting that more thorough knowledge of economic factors is required in order to justify the pro-trade option.RHINOCEROSCITESS Africa fears 2013 rhino slaughter will break records
Keywords:RHINOCEROS, antoni uni, fauna, kruger national park, mammals, nature, south africa
© Antoni Uni, el primero UniCo de l'Escala 2017