Last week, 8 rhinos, 7 of them females plus one of their 5 month old baby daughters, were gunned down and their horns hacked off, on a reserve in South Africa, to be smuggled to Asia, for use in traditional Chinese medicine.
558 rhinos have been poached so far this year, and expectations are to reach the 600 mark by the end of the year.
A record number of rhinos have been killed this year in South Africa, and on average, 2 rhinos are poached every day.
49 were poached in July 2012
75 were poached in October 2012
This is despite the Government hitting back on rhino poaching, imposing longer jail sentencing, and even removing their horns to prevent them from being poached. There are even talks of legalising the rhino horn trade to gain more control. But the demand for rhino horn is too high. And the demand needs to be stopped at source.
39 people have been convicted for rhino poaching related crimes in the last 6 months, with the toughest sentence ever imposed of 40 years in jail, given to a Thai national for organising international rhino poaching expeditions.
The bottom line is that these ancient species are being pushed to extinction. The truth is, Rhinos are worth more dead than alive !!
It is estimated that there are only 20,000 rhinos left in the world, with the vaste majority of these in South Africa, and they need to be protected.
For anyone wanting to help make a difference, and conserve one of the planet’s most endangered and vulnerable species, wildlife conservation volunteers at the Rhino and Elephant Sanctuary in Zimbabwe are vital in the work being done to breed and rehabilitate the rhino back to their natural environment.
Over 70% of Zimbabwe‘s wildlife population has been decimated in past decades and volunteers to this project can make a real difference here at Imire in the heart of Zimbabwe by helping to protect and conserve one of the planet’s most endangered and vulnerable species, the Black Rhino.
This is a very hands-on project and no two days are ever the same at Imire’s Sanctuary. Volunteers live in close contact with black rhino, elephants, buffalo and other species of wild animal on a 10,000 acre Conservancy. They have opportunities to form special relationships with elephants and become part of the herd as well as walking beside the endangered black rhino in a safe environment. They will learn so much about their behaviour, both from spending time with these beautiful creatures, as well as from their knowledgeable and experienced handlers.
The Rhino and Elephant Sanctuary have recently decided to stay open all year round from 2013, so conservation volunteers are now able to book for additional dates in December 2013 and New Year 2014.
Anyone taking part in this diverse volunteer programme will not only have a life-changing experience but will leave having had great fun and feeling as though they have contributed in saving this ancient species of rhino from extinction!