By Chloe Nevitt
A group of lions is called a pride. A group of elephants is called a herd. And in the unlikely event of finding a group of rhinoceroses, it would be called a crash. Unfortunately, the probability of finding large groups of these animals in the wild is becoming rare. What is left in place of an expansive Savannah scattered with magnificent beasts, is the narrowing of animal diversity. The foremost perpetrator: poaching.
According to a survey done by the International Union for Conservation (IUCN), as of November 7, 2013 the Western Black rhino is officially extinct. Sadder still is the almost inevitable extinction of the Northern White and Javan rhinos. The IUCN describe them as “making [their\ last stand” and “teetering on the brink of extinction.” Unless drastic and prompt measures are taken, it will be difficult to stop the Northern White and Javan from meeting the same end as their Western cousin.
Poaching, ineffective anti-poaching efforts, and a failure of courts to hand down severe sentences to punish poachers may all be blamed for not only the Western’s demise but the fact that 25 per cent of mammals are teetering on the brink of extinction.
Conservationists are formulating a variety of anti-poaching techniques to combat these effects. Most recently, rhino horns are being poisoned and painted pink in South Africa to combat poachers. Persons who consume these horns will fall violently ill.
This technique, developed by Dr. Charles van Niekerk, has been extremely successful. On the Dinokeng nature reserve, where the technique is being used, not a single rhino has been poached. Unfortunately, at least 200 rhinos have been killed elsewhere.
As a back-up measure, the rhinos with this dye also have a microchip inserted into the horn. Incredibly, airport scanners can also detect the dye, even when ground as a powder, making the transport of these horns difficult. Presently, the main problem associated with this process is the difficulty in applying it to all rhinos because of a lack of resources.
The demand for these products is unprecedented. Last year, the market for ivory caused an estimated 96 elephants to be killed daily. This translates to an elephant every 15 minutes. Ground rhino horn is both a delicacy and is frequently used in traditional medicine in the Far East. More....