On the Brink…

Imagine someone killing you to get your nails and hair. How stupid is that? Nails and hair grow back and are renewable. One would think you’re more valuable alive than dead because you’d be able to provide a lot more “crop” of nails and hair. Sadly, greed, short sightedness and cruelty are abundant in humans, so rhinoceroses are killed en masse for their horns, which are like nails and hair. They’re made of keratin and grow back when cut. Driven by a high demand for “showing off”, rhinos are on the brink of extinction. Rhino horns are used for making jewelry, ornamental handles and in traditional Chinese medicine, they are believed to cure many ailments. Why don’t they just eat their own nails? It’s much easier, cheaper and has the same medicinal value. The rhinos are so endangered that in South African Nature preserves, they typically don’t interfere with the animals lives, EXCEPT to cut the rhinos horns periodically in order to protect them from poachers. They dart the animal with a sedative, cut the horn which is like nail trimming, then give it an antidote to wake it up. Poachers, on the other hand, shoot rhinos, hack off their horns, then leave the animals to die. Driven by huge profits, they are becoming more technical and aggressive in finding the animals. It’s an ongoing dangerous game of cops and robbers where the main victim is the unwilling and helpless animal.

What happens to the horns collected by the park rangers? You may ask. They are measured, marked, carefully logged, registered and kept in safe vaults. They belong to the state. Given the high level of corruption in governments, it’s unknown if these vaults are really safe. At least the rhinos are still alive.

#rhinos #rhinoceros #rhinohorn #southafrica #animals #wildlife #poachers #poaching #nature #extinction #preservation #travel #travelphotography #travellife #travelblog

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