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South Africa is losing an average of two rhino every three days. This crisis is the most significant conservation issue the country has faced with more than 588 killed this year. South Africa is custodian to most of the world’s remaining rhino. We are the rhino's last stand.
Many of the animals poached were being immobilised with veterinary drugs before having their horns and underlying skull bones hacked off with pangas (machete) and axes. The assumption is that these animals are under anaesthetic and so don’t feel anything. I assure you, they feel; as, in many instances, the amount of drug used does not kill the rhino. If they don’t bleed to death, they wake up under circumstances which I am finding difficult to describe.
The people driving the demand for this bizarre product, who say they take rhino horn to feel good - surely, they couldn’t feel good knowing that animals are suffering to this degree at their hands. If they could, in some way, be made to feel part of the massacre, then perhaps this cruel and
senseless killing might stop. Rhino horn has absolutely no medicinal value nor does it offer the most suitable material for ceremonial daggers.
If we are not able to save the rhino from extinction, this flagship species that’s larger than life, what hope do we have of saving the rest?