Rhino horns are in high demand due to their healing properties and religious symbolism. Poachers are killing rhinos every day. There are five species of rhinos white, black, Sumatran, Javan and the greater one-horned. All are facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. Preventative measures are being taken to save the rhino from becoming extinct.
Dehorning to Ward off Poachers
Rhino horns are made of keratin protein, which is similar to human fingernails. Rhinos use their horns for digging for water, breaking branches, foraging, maternal care and defending themselves and their young from predators. While the rhino horn is useful to the rhino, dehorning a rhino who is living on a conservation has been an effective procedure that is used to protect the rhino from poachers. The dehorning operation is performed by licensed veterinarians and physicians. For added protection, dehorning is combined with monitoring efforts to keep poachers away. Rhino horns grow back at a rapid pace; the dehorning procedure is repeated every 12 to 24 months. Removing the rhino horn in a safe and humane manner prevents poachers from harming rhinos.
Providing Rhinos with Protected Conservation Areas
Wild rhinos are captured humanely and brought to a protected sanctuary. The conservation areas are identical to the rhinos natural habitat of deserts, tropical moist forests, tropical grasslands, subtropical grasslands, savannahs and shrublands. Plants that provide rhinos with nutrition and vitamins are continuously planted and throughout the sanctuary. This allows the rhinos to use their natural foraging abilities. Conservation areas provides a safe place for rhinos to live safely, away from poachers and helps prevent rhino extinction.
Improving Local and International Laws
Africa and other regions of the world are working to improve international and local laws to stop the illegal flow of rhino horn trading and selling. Lawmakers and animal rights activists are working toward legalizing the trade of rhino horns, which can bring up to $500,000 on the Asian black market. Lawmakers and activists propose removing the horns humanely and distributing them through legal channels. Due to the legalization of rhino horns, the new trade agreement will cause the underground selling of rhino horns to diminish and poachers will not be motivated to acquire the rhinos horns illegally; preventing the extinction of rhinos.
Preventing poaching is the ultimate goal to stop rhinos from being extinct. Poaching prevention measures involve paramilitary training techniques, night vision helicopter surveillance, electronic tracking equipment and intelligence gathering. Private reserve owners, conservations and the public are working together to sign petitions and accept donations that help to cover the millions of dollars it takes to provide rhinos with protection against poachers.
- Save the Rhino: 10 Good Reasons to Save Rhinos
- WWF: Black Rhinocerceros
- Save the Rhino: To Legalize or Not To Legalize
- Save the Rhino: De-Horning
- PBS: Rhino Horn Use: Fact vs. Fiction
- Rhinos: Javan Rhino Conservation Program
- Mail and Guardian Africa's Best Read: Fight Rhino Poaching by Legalizing Lucrative Horn Trade
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