Lockdown resulted in Anti Rhino Poaching Funding to Vanish overnight…..
While this is a good thing as we have saved the lives of 200 more Rhinos, it is a very sad time for us as we really don’t want to take any horn from a Rhino but this really is our last resort of saving them. The choice is a rhino with no horn versus a dead rhino.
Funding for protecting our rhinos largely relied upon tourism and in March 2020 the President of South Africa forced a lockdown to help combat COVID-19 but resulted in the collapse of income for us to protect the rhinos. What was worse that without funding and without tourists in the reserves poachers found this as a prime time for them not to be caught and poaching attempts increased overnight.
We are proud that since lockdown and with the support of donors and fundraisers around the world that even with the collapse of tourism our team was able to coordinate and fund the dehorning of nearly 200 rhinos on local reserves across the country. It’s been a very challenging and difficult time but we thank the team for going out their way during the lockdown to help keep the rhinos safe.
So Why are Rhino Horns So Valuable?
In Vietnam and across Asia it is understood that locals believe the Rhino horn, that is made from the same substance as our fingernails, is a healer from many illnesses however this has never been proven by science to our knowledge.
While medicine seems to be the largest factor of these horns it is also understood that owning a rhino horn also shows a status symbol of wealth within your community. It is understood that the horns are shared within family and professional networks to demonstrate their wealth and to aid business deals. Gifting a whole rhino horn is a way to get favour from those in power.
People believe that the horn is a medical cure for fever, hangover, gout, cancer, stroke and many other life threatening illnesses. Currently based on the black market it is estimated that a horn is worth around $65,000 USD per Kg. A White Rhino has two horns weighing around 5kgs.
Studies have shown that as horns are from poaching in Africa there is still a great deal of ignorance and acknowledgement of the issue in Asia and while we will not be able to change everyone’s opinion it is important to educate and share the issues we face with as many people as possible.
We continue to run a number of initiatives to keep our rhinos in South Africa safe and we look at dehorning as the last resort. Every donation you make allows us to continue our work and keep them safe. Please stay connected to our project on global giving.