Rhino wars: a smart solution

Published on May 22nd, 2012
Rhino wars: a smart solution

Scary fact: a rhino is poached every 18 hours in South Africa (according to the International Rhino Foundation in Florida, USA). And if you don’t think that’s scary enough, consider the fact that 13 rhinos were poached in SA throughout the whole of 2007, while about 200 rhinos had already been poached by the end of April this year!

But why?!
The horn on a rhino’s head is a powerful tool that helps the animal survive in the wild – rhinos use their horns as weapons when they need to defend themselves from other animals. But the same thing that normally keeps a rhino alive could now kill the entire species. Why? Because of one really dangerous animal: man.

For some (really dumb) reason, people in certain parts of Asia think the horn has medicinal properties. Of course, this is totally untrue. Rhino horn is made from keratin, the same protein that’s found in your own fingernails (and no one wants to use those for anything). And yet, the poor rhinos are under attack every day for exactly the same stuff!

What can be done?
At the Rhino and Lion Reserve in Gauteng, the rangers have come up with a smart new solution. By mixing a parasite-killing chemical with a dye that glows pink under airport scanners, they’ve created a treatment that – when put into the horns – makes anyone who eats the horn very sick and helps airport officials to detect any horns that are being smuggled to foreign countries. Even if the horn is powdered, it will still glow bright pink under an airport scanner. And the best part? It doesn’t harm the rhino’s health at all – in fact, it keeps the beautiful beast safe from all sorts of nasty parasites. So everybody wins.

Join the fight against rhino poaching
Believe it or not, you can help raise awareness about the rhino’s daily battle to survive. How? By helping to spread the word… the more people who become aware of this problem, the more smart new solutions will be found. People also need to realise that a rhino’s horn has no medicinal value… and it’s a very valuable tool for the rhino! To find out what else you can do, visit www.stoprhinopoaching.com.