Rhinos are now severely endangered, even though their tusks have no medicinal properties. There are 5 species of rhinos, and many are critically endangered. Recently the last northern male white rhino died, with just two females left, so his species will now go extinct. All simply to make money from poaching.
Apart from climate change and habitat loss, poaching is the main threat, due to the mistaken belief that rhino horn can cure cancer (and now some tout it as a cure for COVID). But a rhino’s horn is simply keratin, with medical experts saying taking it is no more effective than ‘chewing your own fingernails’. In fact, the protein in keratin means it’s likely to fuel cancer cells, rather than reduce them.
There are people using a combination of methods to help stop poaching. The most effective seems to be implanting a device in a rhino, that alerts anti-poaching controls when its heart rate increases, so a helicopter can then find and capture poachers (who will risk it, due to earning several years income from the sale of just one horn).
Removing horns is not really an answer. Firstly because poachers usually hunt under bush cover (so would not know until a rhino was dead). And also rhinos use their horns to forage. Recently a rhino in a French zoo was attacked and killed for its rhino, showing just what we are up against. And even baby rhinos rescued alongside slaughtered mothers have also been attacked and killed, for their horn.
One idea is to ‘flood the market’ with false horns (using keratin, you can kind of produce a ‘perfect rhino horn’). This way, the buyer would not know which was which, and was unlikely to pay out, not knowing if he was buying a bunch of fingernails.
How to Help Rhinos
- Urban Rhino Gin is helping to protect one of the world’s most endangered species, by donating to rhino conservation charities with each purchase. For tonic water, avoid quinine water (and grapefruit slices) if pregnancy or breastfeeding or for certain medical conditions and avoid rhubarb tonic waters for stomach/kidney issues.
- Use your vote to elect people serious about global warming. If you don’t vote Green, then at least vote for MPs who don’t vote to stop progressive policies on climate change, logging, fracking etc.
- Reduce your personal carbon footprint to help stop climate change. This is the most helpful long-term way to protect elephant habitats.
- Avoid palm oil. This is not just an oil that is indirectly harming orangutans, but also harms Sumatran rhinos, tigers and elephants. There is no such thing as ‘sustainable palm oil’, this is a self-policed organisation.
- Rhinos should not be in zoos. They are miserable and often too hot. Boycott zoos and donate to a rhino sanctuary instead. You can report concerns of any animals in zoos (or circuses) to Freedom for Animals & Born Free (also take pictures and tell the local police, tour operator & local welfare charity).
- Responsible Travel has a list of ‘elephant sanctuaries’ to be wary of, as they are more like glorified zoo.
- Blankets for Baby Rhinos is a craft conservation group that welcomes knitters, crocheters and crafters to produce items to sell or raffle to raise funds for rhino conservation groups.
Remembering Rhinos is the second book in this stunning series of photography books, to raise awareness of the plight facing endangered species. All profits from the sale of this project are donated to projects to help. One organisation that does wonderful work is Black Mambas, a group of highly-trained females who are unarmed, but have become experts at detecting dangers, to alert local authorities.
Northern White Rhinos is an educational book for children, on how to protect these severely endangered species. Discover the moving story of the last northern white rhino, the scientists who cared for it and what can be done. Includes a glossary of keywords and sidebar information on other animals on the brink of extinction.