Rhino conservation is a huge area of study in South Africa; I made friends with someone who was studying potential correlation between grass length and rhino grazing!
On every National Park I have been to, there is at least one person dedicated to monitoring these beautiful animals, and sometimes a whole team of people who study their behaviours and feeding habits. Charities such as the Wildlife Act contribute to this data, as well as helping conserve other endangered species (you can read about my time with them here and you can also see how you can help keep them running during this difficult time here).
A Bit About Rhinos!
There are 5 species of rhinos that are currently alive; the black and white rhinos in Africa, the Greater one-horned rhino in India and the Sumatran and Javan rhino in Java and Sumatra.
They are herbivorous animals, but they are very dangerous to humans and predators. Baby rhinos tend to fall prey to lions and crocodiles.
As you can see from the map above, white rhinos have the biggest population while Javan rhinos are incredibly close to extinction.
Over the past decade, rhino population has increased due to conservation efforts, but they are still detrimentally low. Below is a graph that shows how black rhinos have been hunted to near extinction since 2006.
Why are Rhino’s Poached?
First off, what is poaching? Poaching is the killing of animals for their skin or horns or just to keep them as a prize. Typically it is done by shooting the animals or trapping them in snares.
All species of rhinos are killed for their horns. The are typically important in Chinese medicine, and they also act as a symbol of wealth and prosperity. Based on the Asian black market value, rhino horn is worth US$65,000 per kg and prices are steadily rising.
How Can We Help?!
Rhino conservation efforts are incredibly important. Not only do we not want to lose another species, but this species is also necessary for the African and Indian ecosystem. Due to the large amounts they eat, rhinos help to shape the land and control the vegetation growth.
Therefore, rhinos need your help!
You can help by donating to charities like the Wildlife Act, or even volunteering with them! You can read about my time with them here if you would be interested in it. Setting up fundraisers is a great skill to have, and you can do it for a brilliant cause!
Another way of helping is by spreading the word! Press the share button on this post, like it or comment on it, anyway to get the word out there.
Are you a conservationist or a vet? Maybe spend some time with these beautiful animals to help preserve them. There is always need of those with the knowledge and skills.
Stop buying products with ivory in, too! Many items have ivory in and you wouldn’t even realise, so be sure to check what you are buying and avoid the ivory products.
If you see the sale of ivory which looks suspicious, then please report it. The sale or transport of elephant tusks or rhino horns is illegal in many countries.
Maybe together, we can save this beautiful species.