Statistically speaking, at least two rhinos will probably be killed by poachers today. The criminals will descend upon the fallen animals, chop off their horns and disappear. Those horns will then begin their long journey to China or Vietnam where they will be ground up and sold as "cures" for ailments ranging from cancer to hangovers. This trade, of course, is both illegal and a complete waste: Rhino horn has no actual medicinal qualities.
Today, September 22, also marks the fourth annual World Rhino Day, a worldwide event founded to bring attention to the rhino poaching crisis that threatens to drive all five rhino species and related subspecies into extinction. Activists, NGOs, zoos, classrooms and rhino fans will use the day to discuss the killings and the illegal trade and, with luck, target the consumer demand that for all intents and purposes puts bullets into the poachers' guns.
Here are 22 links to help you learn more about rhinos and the poaching crisis and maybe, if it suits you, to take action.
World Rhino Day:
- The main World Rhino Day site
- Local events at zoos and other institutions around the globe
- World Rhino Day on Facebook
- The ongoing #iam4rhinos Twitter storm
Current rhino news:
- As of yesterday, September 21, 688 rhinos have been poached so far this year in South Africa. That's 2o more than in all of 2012, which itself was an all-time record.
- The U.S. just added the southern white rhino to the Endangered Species list, the last rhino species to gain that protection.
- Vietnam has become one of the main end-points for rhino horns. Here's an interview with a proud Vietnamese businessman who takes rhino horn because it makes him look important
Rhino conservation and education:
- How to teach rhinos and conservation (The Guardian)
- Information on all five rhino species from Save the Rhinos
- Current rhino population figures
- Teacher resources from the International Rhino Foundation
And finally, here are most of my articles about rhinos (including the obituaries for two subspecies that have been poached into extinction in recent years):
- Rhino Poaching: An Extinction Crisis
- As Rhino Poaching Surges, South Africa Proposes Legalized Trade in Precious Horns
- Poachers Drive Javan Rhino to Extinction in Vietnam
- Western Black Rhino Extinct
- Crowd-Funded Drones Could Help Protect Kenyan Rhinos
- The Most Eagerly Awaited Rhino Porn of All Time [Video]
- 160 Video Cameras to Help Monitor Last 35 Javan Rhinos
- Video: 2 Rhinos Fight for Life after Their Horns Are Chopped Off
- Rare Northern White Rhino Dies of Old Age–and Then There Were 7…
- To Save the Sumatran Rhino, Zoo Will Attempt to Mate Brother and Sister
- Hunter Allowed to Import Rhino Trophy into U.S. for First Time in 33 Years
Tragically, I seem to write about rhinos more than any other group of endangered species. I hope that I will not have to report on the extinctions of any more rhino species or subspecies any time soon. Unfortunately, even on World Rhino Day, I am not hopeful.
Photo by Mike Richardson via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license