It is no secret that there are many animals in the world that are on the verge of becoming extinct. This may be due to climate change or environmental changes, but the most heartbreaking reason an animal becomes extinct is due to poaching. The definition of poaching is, “Illegally hunt or catch (game or fish) on land that is not one’s own, or in contravention of official protection.” The rhino species has been around for at least 50 million years and dates back to the Eocene period. But did you know that some species of rhino are about to become extinct due to poaching? This is the case for the Northern White Rhino. Poaching rhinos for the use of their horns and ivory has gotten so bad that it’s often compared to the drug cartels and arms dealers. Even though poaching is illegal, the punishments don’t necessarily fit the crime, because the risks are small while the profits are very high. The reason that poachers focus on the Northern White Rhino is because many years ago, it was thought that their ivory horns offered many health benefits. At one time, they thought the horn would improve hair growth. They also thought that the horn would help reduce fevers and febrile convulsions. Some of this may be true, but because of these rumors, the rhino population in Africa is currently down 96% in the last 50 years. Even if the rhino horn did help reduce fevers and convulsions, why not take medication that doesn’t harm the animal and would also help, like aspirin? Some of the following pictures may be disturbing to some readers, but it’s very important to see what exactly is being done to the Northern White Rhino population.
These armed guards stood watch over the Rhino until its very last days, keeping him safe from poachers.
It’s rumored that the rhino horn will make you look younger and also cure diseases. None of this has been proven. As a precautionary measure, professionals would remove the Rhino horns in order to keep poachers from killing them.
Because the horns are so rare and sought after, they can go for up to $30,000 per pound.
When cutting the rhino horn, the animal is either left to die or they are left mutilated with an open wound. This leaves the majestic animal very vulnerable to getting an infection.
If they are caught, poachers can get up to 25 years in prison. The big part is IF they are caught. Oftentimes there are too many poachers and not enough law enforcement to catch them and bring them to justice.
The last male white Rhino was put to sleep due to age related deterioration of its health but it was guarded day and night by armed guards protecting the last male of a species.
The last male Northern White Rhino was named Sudan. He stands as a heartbreaking symbol of what can happen when illegal poaching and black market sales go uncontrolled for too long.
Sudan was put to sleep at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. There are also two female Northern White Rhinos at this conservancy. The Northern White Rhino is so close to being extinct that there are only a total of 4 of them left on this planet, with 2 of them being taken care of at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. There was a large surge in poaching in the 1960s and this was the beginning of the end for this species. The cost of rhino horns continues to rise with poachers being able to get around $75,000 for about 2.2 pounds of rhino horn.