Today, 22nd September 2012 marks the third World Rhino Day, and anyone following our blog will know how passionate we are about the plight of these gentle giants.
Organised by Lisa Jane Campbell from Zimbabwe and Rhishia Cota-Larson from the US, World Rhino Day is an international effort to help the five remaining African and Asian Rhino species survive the despicable rhino horn poaching endemic, that has seen a staggering 381 rhinos slaughtered between 1st January and 11th September, in South Africa alone.
In Asia, the Javan, Sumatran and Black Rhino feature on the critically endangered list, with some reports suggesting there are as few as 48 Javan Rhino left on our planet. The Southern White Rhino of South Africa may be in a better position, with some 20,000 still alive, but when you consider the rate they are being culled due to the ignorance of man, it can only be a matter of time before they too become extinct.
Those who practice traditional Chinese medicine believe that rhino horn has some kind of ‘magical’ healing powers and that it will “cure” a whole manner of ailments such as fever, epilepsy, acne and even cancer. Medical research and extensive tests have revealed that this is complete nonsense, and that rhino horn is made of the same material as our own hair and fingernails – keratin.
Yet, despite international efforts to educate people on the myths surrounding rhino horn, it is still widely used in China and Vietnam, where many claim to believe it is harvested without harming the animal.
One only has to type “rhino horn” in Google to see exactly how it is “harvested”, and if we do not do something to stop this corrupt and illegal trade, the rhino will be a creature our children and grandchildren can only read about in books.
World Rhino Day provides us all with the opportunity to highlight the cause of the five remaining rhino species, and if you would like to do your bit, check out the official website: http://www.worldrhinoday.org