Poaching is a worldwide problem that threatens the planet’s most iconic amazing species. Poaching is more than just a problem that only a few species or select countries face. This incredible act of aggression against nature takes place on every continent and while there are countries that take a firmer stand against poaching, it is present in most societies.
When people think of the word poaching, it’s easy for images of the most famously endangered species to come to minds such as elephants, tigers, gorillas, and rhinos. However, poaching is a problem that thousands of species face every year. It’s estimated that around 30,000 species a year go extinct, and while issues like the destruction of natural habitats or global warming are also to be blamed, poaching plays a valid contribution.
Why Do Animals Become the Target of Poaching?
Poaching is defined as the illegal killing, trapping, or trafficking of animals and is different from hunting. While hunting animals can be done legally and within constructed guidelines and rules that actually protect species, poaching has no beneficial aspects. In fact, when a species is heavily targeted for poaching, it can not only tragically impact that species’s existence but have adverse effects on entire ecosystems.
Biodiversity is one of the most important aspects of natural habitats and maintaining strong, healthy ecosystems. When a species is targeted by poaching to the point of extinction, it can have a large impact such as disrupting the natural order of the food chain. Species are uniquely populated throughout nature to help keep balance and allow for life to flourish. When an important species, especially a predator, is taken out of the equation – it can cause big problems.
Is Poaching Rhinos a Real Problem?
When it comes to poaching, there are a few creatures that are among some of the planet’s most iconic and famous animals that are the most at risk of extinction. The rhino is one of these creatures. This incredible, majestic creature is among one of the most heavily poached animals on earth and has been considered endangered.
How Many Wild Rhinos Are Left in The World?
At one point in time, rhino’s enjoyed a large population and roamed the world through Europe, Africa, and Asia. Now wild rhinos are very rare and most rhinos around the globe are found in conservation areas where special measures are taken to keep them safe.
It’s estimated that there are roughly less than 30,000 rhinos alive today, which is an astronomical drop in their population over the years. It’s also estimated that rhinos are poached at an alarming rate of one rhino per 12 hours. There are different kinds of rhinos still alive, but certain species are near extinction, such as the black rhino which is thought to have lost over 97% of its population since the 1960s alone. For the Javan and Sumatran rhino, there are less than one hundred of each species left alive today.
Why Are Rhinos Popular Targets For Poaching?
Most of the drive behind poaching a certain species is because some aspect of the animal is considered valuable on the black market. This is a tragedy as entire species will be pushed to the brink of excision simply so their body can be butchered for a fin, tusk, or fur pellet.
The rhino has long been a valued prize for poachers the world over for its much revered and sought-after horn. The rhino horn holds a heavy amount of cultural symbolism. It is thought of as a symbol of power and it has also long been thought to house strong medicinal properties. The powder of the rhino horn has been used throughout history for medicinal purposes and is through to have powerful properties that can help cure minor conditions and serious injuries alike.
The main reason why the rhino horn is so lucrative to the black market, however, is that it’s so expensive and rare that it is a social status symbol. This has made rhinos one of the biggest victims of poaching throughout the world.
Not only has rhino poaching depreciated the number of rhinos drastically, but it has irradicated diversity in the rhino species. Where there used to be several different types of rhinos in the wild, there are now only five kinds of rhinos left in the world. As stated early, two of those five types of rhinos have populations of less than a hundred and are considered close to extinction.
Hope For The Future
Rhino poaching is still a lucrative activity and will continue to be something that governments and nonprofit organizations will continue to fight. The best way to help curve this cruelty is to educate yourself and support organizations that are specifically trying to help conserve what’s left of the rhino population and ensure we don’t lose this precious species. You can support most conservation foundations by donating to their efforts and educating yourself and your community about the dangers that rhinos around the world are facing.