Rhinos facing grave threats

Rhinocerous (c)Mike Vickers

Impassioned interventions made yesterday by rhinoceros range States were quite literally bringing tears to the eyes of some delegates attending the Standing Committee. The appalling threat and suffering that face rhino populations across Africa was truly horrifying to hear.

The Democratic Republic of Congo spoke of how it was once proud of its endemic northern white rhino population. However, the poaching situation has resulted in a 3 year search for any remaining white rhinos, and in that time DRC have found no trace of a single surviving individual. In all likelihood, DRC’s northern white rhinos are now extinct.

Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana also spoke of the ‘unprecedented’ and ‘grave’ threats facing their rhino populations. Most countries agreed that enforcement efforts would be useless in the absence of a concerted effort to reduce demand in Asia.

Pleas by range States for consumer States to take urgent action, however, did not stimulate a positive response. China and Japan were strongly of the opinion that measures to persuade the public that rhino horn has little or no medical efficacy, and should not be used in Traditional Asian Medicine, would fall on deaf ears.

The UK reported shocking statistics – that illicit rhino horn now demands more money on the black market than heroin, being equivalent in value to crack cocaine.

The real question is whether or not the measures approved by CITES can take effect fast enough to protect remaining rhino populations, before the situation in DRC is replicated across other parts of Africa. Time will tell.

Signing off,


9 Responses to “Rhinos facing grave threats”

  1. Helen Ratcliff Says:

    This truly breaks my heart. A few weeks ago , The Times did a photo story on poachers and hunting for ‘trophy’. Wealthy,ignorant, Americans with nothing better to do with their cash than kill innocent creatures in Africa. That is one thing, but for people to still believe that there are healing remedies in the horn of a rhino…. well, it may be correct to say, sadly, old habits die hard. Wake up!! These amazing animals have evolved with our world so surely we owe it to them to take responsibility for our actions and show them some respect and give them protection. Stop torturing these animals! We all know the damage that crack or cocaine do however, killing rhinos out of pure ignorance will leave a more devastating dent in the world. I believe this is a similar addiction, like the drugs making sad people feel better about themselves. That said, taking drugs is only damaging to oneself. Needless to say anymore about the consequences of poaching rhinos for their horns.

  2. darina gogorova Says:

    that,s really a bad news.so sad.i didn’t know that people of china and japan still believe in a miraculous power of rhino horn. even if it worked as a cure, knowing that it could wipe out rhinos should make these people to think about it an feel at least sorry for them.these countries need a serious lesson about the protection of the environment and a hoe to respect the animals – wild and domestic.because they have respect at all.we all know about their hunger for shark fins, whales, dolphins, tigers and many other species they eat no matter how they are slaughtered and no matter they might cause entire species wipe out.and they still – china and japan – consider themselves to be highly developed, modern countries.oh no, the technology and business don’t make any country civilized. the way how they treat animals and environment and their approach towards nature and of course human rights do.none if these are present in both and not only these countries, unfortunately. can’t UN do something about it? is there any power to stop them or help?some strict ban plus education, some really moving documentaries about thee problem which would touch the common people and make them change their mind?

  3. Jane Sweeney Says:

    I feel strongly that we should send scientific educators to teach the citizens of countries such as China and Japan, that there are better medicines than those based on superstition and custom like powdered horn, and allow them to leave the dwindling numbers of these magnificent animals to live in peace and reproduce themselves happily until their numbers are restored

  4. Kenneth Lapointe Says:

    Forget ‘teaching’ any user or believer in the supposed medicinal values of the horns. Those that won’t learn are enough customers to ruin the species.
    You must make unusable, worthless, valueless, by injection or some other means ANY possible human use of the horn. Surely if humans can put a man on the moon they can ruin any possible value of rhino horns to humans. And it must be done to EVERY single rhino with a horn everywhere (wherever subject to any possibility of poaching). Why fool around? Why do it halfway? Why not DO it and that’s it?

  5. Bella Fitspatrick Says:


  6. Moira Hunter Says:

    Earlier this year i worked as a volunteer at Shamwari and my project while I was there was to track the white rhino on the reserve. It was such an honour to see theses magnificant animals at close quarters and meet the rangers and anti poaching team that help secure their safety.
    I agree that education – and more difficultly- a change of attidute is needed but everything possible MUST be done to ensure the survival of these amazing animals.

  7. Shaleen Says:

    The use of rhino horns in traditional Asian medicine is something that really needs to be looked in to. These animals do not deserve what they are going through

  8. Jinny Lee Says:

    Totally immoral.

  9. Gloria Edwards Says:

    This practice is disgusting and I wonder what the bornfree organisation is doing to help combat it!