RHINOS - A DISAPPEARING TREASURE
The rhinoceros’ species have been around for far longer than humans have, unfortunately we have been responsible for the mass killing of thousands of these ancient creatures. The pure fact that we are bae to ay our eyes on this incredible relict is nothing short of a miracle as they have been surviving for eons.
There are five rhino species on earth; the white- and black rhino, Sumatran, Indian and javan rhino. All of which are facing extinction due to excessive demand in rhino horn in countries like Asia, particularly Vietnam.
Rhino horn has become one of the most valuable natural substances on Earth. The main use of the horn is as a status symbol to display wealth and success, it is also used in traditional Chinese medicine. Apparently is can be used to treat fevers, rheumatism, gout, and other disorders, snakebites, hallucinations, typhoid, headaches, carbuncles, vomiting, food poisoning, and “devil possession.” While it is commonly believed to be prescribed as an aphrodisiac, all of the above mention has been scientifically tested and found that rhino horn has no medicinal value. Poachers are equipped with highly sophisticated equipment to track and kill rhinos; the equipment is supplied by international gangs. Rhinos are killed on a daily basis in South Africa and KNP is one of the biggest targets.
Rhino poaching reached an all time high in 2014 where 1215 rhinos were poached, it has declined over the last few years, but it still more than a 1000 animals a year. Major anti-poaching efforts have been established: highly trained anti-poaching teams are deployed in parks and reserves, equipment like drones and night vision gear is used, tracking dogs have been trained and are used to sniff out and track poachers, the list goes on. These efforts do show a significant impact as poaching figures are declining at a very slow rate, but the biggest challenge is to bring an end to the trade to Asia.
Mjejane Game Reserve (MGR) is no exception to the rhino poaching statistics, a few years back we had lost around ten rhinos due to poaching, most of which were white rhinos. Poachers would sit on the railway during the day and scan the area for any rhinos, at night they would enter the reserve and use silenced rifles to take down the large animal. After the unfortunate events, MGR has employed a highly skilled anti-poaching team and we have been lucky to not lose one rhino during their employment (touch wood). We are very fortunate to reach this type of achievement for the time being.
Rhinos are iconic animals that endured thousands of years and yet we as the human race are bringing their existence to an end. How long do they have? For how long can we still drive around in our parks and view these magnificent horned beasts? No one has the answer, all we can do is keep fighting against this greedy, insensitive and heartless venture that is ridding us of our heritage.
To find out more about Mjejane Game Reserve: CLICK HERE