20 September 2009


Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), Critically Endangered

100000 - The number of Black Rhinos alive in 1960
65000 - The number of Black Rhinos alive in 1973
14000 - The number of Black Rhinos alive in 1980
2300 - The number of Black Rhinos alive in 1993
4240 - The number of Black Rhinos alive today
9 - The number of Black Rhinos alive in a secret location

Nine Black Rhinos have recently been airlifted to a secret location in an effort to increase the range and numbers of these critically endangered African mammals. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), in partnership with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW), selected individuals from different areas and parks to help establish the new population.

The final destination of the nine founders is being kept a secret because of illegal poaching--the main factor in the rhinos' steep decline since the 1960s. Rhino horn is used illegally in traditional Asian medicine, as well as being highly coveted for ornamental use.

In Yemen, rhino horns are used for the handles of curved daggers called jambiyas, which are given to young men as symbols of manhood and religious devotion. Not all jambiyas use rhino horn--only the most prized and expensive.

The use of Rhino horn in traditional Asian medicine, however, is by far the greater threat. Rhino horn is used to treat a variety of ailments, including fever, rheumatism, and gout. The horn is usually shaved or ground into a powder and dissolved in boiling water. As more and more Chinese people accumulate wealth and the ability to pay for expensive treatments, the market for poached Rhino horn will only grow.

Sign a petition to stop illegal Rhino horn trade.

Learn more from Save the Rhinos, The International Rhino Foundation, or Saving Rhinos.

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