MATTER OF CONCERN
The rhinoceros is perhaps one of the oldest species inhabiting the earth. It is an animal that has been endangered due to rapid poaching. Over the last ten years more than 7,000 rhinos have been killed across the world making it crucial for us to take cognizance of the matter.
Amelia Jackson is a Wildlife Photographer and Writer based in Sydney.
The world belongs not just to human beings but to a wide range of animals and plants too. Hardly, we see this understanding being reflected in the way that we inhabit the planet. The anthropocentric orientation that we have towards the planet reflects in the way that we exploit natural resources, engage in ruthless mining, fell trees and do deforestation, kill animals to trade their horns, feathers, skin and teeth and utilise natural resources without thinking what its implications will be on the planet.
Recently the photos of two rhinoceroses caught the imagination of the world community. Yes, these two rhinoceroses were victim of poaching and the sight of their pain is heart wrenching.
The photo of an injured rhinoceros lying mutilated but alive next to its mother at Kruger National Park, South Africa is an image that has won the hearts of the world audience not in terms of the beauty it showcases but rather because it exemplifies the great deal of pain that we have inflicted on the natural world.
The animals in forests have no language or discourse through which they can argue and claim their rights before the so called human intelligence but that has over the years implied that we ruthlessly inflict pain upon them. The rhinos were targeted by poachers for their horns, which are sold for exorbitant prices in the market. The mother rhino was poached to death because she had beautiful horns that the poachers wanted and the baby rhino had not still developed these horns and was spared.
The baby rhino perhaps shocked and perhaps unable to comprehend the death of its mother, refused to leave her side. The baby rhino had a tranquiliser dart stuck to its body which the poachers had used to calm down the animal. It feet and back had also got several injuries. It has been three months since the mother rhino passed away but caretakers still remember how the baby still calls out to its mother. In the last ten years more than 7,000 rhinos have died across the world targeted by poaching. Most of the rhinos in the world live in South African jungles. The poor socio-economic condition of the people there led to the business of poaching.
Selling rhino horns and skin fetches great deal of international money and has fast become a growing business in the country.
Kenya, Zimbabwe and Nigeria are the worst hit by poaching. There is a word wide ban on rhino poaching but the crisis has not yet been resolved. The horns of both the white and the black rhino are used in traditional medicine and thus sold at exorbitant prices in the international market. Despite strong ban and restrictions that are put on poaching, poachers find their way into national parks and attempt to poach.
This has led to sever deathly injuries inflicted on the rhino population. Rhinos are important because they help maintain the ecosystem of Africa and consume huge amounts of grass which shapes the landscape. The presence of the rhino in the jungle also ensures the safety of all other animals. Rhinos have inhabited the planet for thousands of years. Poachers are using a wide variety of techniques such as helicopters, drugs and other mechanism to kill the rhino.
Apart from being used to make medicine, rhino horn is fast considered as a prized position among elite families. The world has to work towards reducing the demand for rhino horns and simultaneously make ways to address the concerns around poaching and save the rhinoceros and the ecosystem.