The recent tragedy, during which 7 Black Rhinoceros out of 14 died at the Tsavo East National Park in the south of Kenya, shook the entire world. Rhinoceros have a sad fate in our history. Settlers and particularly hunters are behind the fall in their numbers. The fact that they are critically endangered and that some sub-species have already disappeared from the face of the Earth for good, is mainly due to the human pursuit of money.
Rhinoceros horns: a valuable and very well-paid for commodity
The rhinoceros is the only animal in the world whose horn consists of keratin only. Hunters desire them due to the high price they command, particularly on markets in the Near East. The country in which rhinoceros horns are most in demand is Yemen. The horn is used as medicine, but most often as a handle of the traditional knife. Hunters do not hesitate to kill the rhinoceros for its horn. The ones who survive are lucky.
And now something that will shock you: Since 1970 it is estimated that approximately 22,400 horns have been imported to Yemen. We remind you that this is the number for Yemen only! The price per kilogram of horn has reached an unbelievable USD 130,000 during this time. And you can be sure that the horns are in great demand. Wealthy Asians in particular covet these horns.
The number of Black Rhinoceros has fallen by 90 % since the nineteen seventies.
What is the horn used for?
It is not absolutely certain what the rhinoceros uses its horn for, but it has been observed that mothers are unable to look after their young as well without a horn, and African rhinoceros for example also use their horn as a weapon.
However, we can say with absolute certainty what humans use the horns for. They make figures, souvenirs, decorative items and jewels out of them. Ground rhinoceros horn is used in Chinese medicine, where it allegedly treats impotence and cancer. But its therapeutic effect has not yet been proven.
Poachers even run wild in Europe
But is not only the people in distant Africa who commit “atrocities against animals”. Last year poachers cut off the horn of a rhinoceros called Vince at Thoiry Zoo in Paris. The animal was shot three times in the head and his horn was then cut off with a chainsaw. Fortunately they were unable to saw off his other horn because their chainsaw most probably broke down. The horns of two other rhinoceros living in the ZOO with Vince probably kept their horns thanks to this unforeseeable malfunction.
There are currently 5 species of rhinoceros on our planet. They live in Africa and Asia. There are only 30,000 individual animals in the entire world. The sad statistics state that approximately 100 of them die every month, so you can easily calculate how much time they have on our planet.