The Poaching Epidemic

On the Brink of Extinction: The Last Rhinos

(WARNING: Some links on this page lead to sites that display graphic photos of poached rhinos.)

Despite rising global action, at the current pace of the slaughter, Rhinos could be extinct by 2016. Carried out by sophisticated syndicates in Asia whose cruelty and greed is insatiable, Rhino poaching is causing unsustainable losses as well as extreme pain and suffering. The poaching epidemic is fueled by the value of horn and the medical myths prevalent in Asia.

Rhinos were on the brink in the early 20th century, with some species down to 50 or fewer. And yet they recovered when the world woke up to this tragedy. If every one of us acts now, we could see another magical recovery. The alternative is shocking: what took nature millions of years to create and sustain, could be wiped out in a single generation.

Blessed and cursed with a horn worth 65,000 USD/kilo in Asia, this keystone animal’s face bears the holy grail of the black market as conspicuous as a hood ornament. When full-grown, a Rhino’s horn is mammoth, reaching as much as 59 inches in length.

Three Rhino species, the Sumatran, the Javan and the Black Rhino are critically endangered while the Indian Rhino is listed as threatened. The Sumatran Rhino clings to survival as its numbers plummet faster than those of any other extant species. Over the past 20 years, poachers have killed more than half the world’s population of Sumatran Rhinos making it the most endangered Rhino of all. Only 5 Northern White Rhinos remain with none of them in the wild.

According to WWF, demand for rhino horn translates into at least 1,300 Rhino deaths annually, by far the highest in modern history.