Celebrate World Rhino Day

by Gabrielle Ozynski
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Started in 2010 by WWF South Africa, World Rhino Day now celebrates five species of rhino: Black, white, greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan rhinos.

It was in 2011 that Lisa Jane Campbell of Chishakwe Ranch in Zimbabwe was looking online for collaborators for World Rhino Day and she discovered Rhishja Cota, founder of the wildlife advocacy organisation Annamiticus and a consultant with USAID Wildlife Asia. The two women shared the idea of making World Rhino Day in aid of both African and Asian rhinos.

They worked together and now it has grown to be a worldwide day of awareness for the endangered animal.

Sadly, the scourge of poaching rhinos for bogus medicinal uses continues, despite the many initiatives to combat it. Demand is neverending and therefore so is the poaching.

See also: How A Rhino Is Dehorned

Rhinos Critically Endangered And Extinct

At the beginning of the 20th century, 500 000 rhinos roamed Africa and Asia. But today very few rhinos survive outside national parks and reserves due to persistent poaching and habitat loss over many decades. Two species of rhino in Asia—Javan and Sumatran—are critically endangered.

For more about the poaching of rhinos and how some reserves are combating it go to: Dehorning: The battle to save rhinos facing threats within and outside the reserves

A subspecies of the Javan rhino was declared extinct in Vietnam in 2011. According to writer Haerudin R. Sadjudin, Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia’s Java island ‘is the last remaining habitat on Earth for the critically endangered Javan rhinoceros’ and its survival ‘is threatened by natural disasters and a genetic bottleneck due to its small population’.

In Africa, Sudan, the last male northern white rhinoceros died in Kenya, on March 19, 2018. Only his daughter and granddaughter are left. Now in attempt to save the species, scientists have taken fertilized eggs taken from the two females and ‘frozen sperm harvested from two male northern white rhinos before they died’. According to Time.com ‘the embryos are now stored in liquid nitrogen, to be transferred into asurrogate mother — a southern white rhino — in the near future’.

Rhino Poaching Statistics In South Africa 

From January 1 to June 31, 2019:

Western Cape remained at zero for the second year in a row,  Kruger was down from 222 in 2018 to 190.

KwaZulu-Natal went from 64 to 66 poached. The Free State went from two to eight and Northern Cape from one to three rhinos poached.

Overall it has gone down from 383 to 318 from 2018. (Not including the foetuses of slain pregnant rhinos, or orphans found).

See Also: Stroop: Going Deep Into The Rhino War

The Truth About Rhino Horns’ Miracle ‘Cures

As WorldRhinoDay states: ‘Rhino horns cannot cure cancer. They do not cure hangovers. In fact, they cannot cure any ailments. Yet, demand for rhino horn persists, both for its perceived medicinal benefits and also as a symbol of high social status. Rhino horn is made of keratin – just like human nails – and is as effective at curing cancer as chewing on your own fingernails. It has no place in traditional medicine, or in the making of trinkets or ornamental carvings. It belongs on a rhino.’

For more information go to:World Rhino Day 2019

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