Helping Rhinos (and Cuddling Lion Cubs)
Holy crap I think I gorged on cuteness last weekend. I pretended not to imagine that this little guy would gladly eat me if he were big enough. He even got his growly pants on for a little while when I was messing with him as he climbed a little playslide.
You’re only getting one of the many cuddly wuddly lion cub photos today because I need to first talk about rhinos.
Yeah, yeah. They’re endangered, right?. Everybody knows that.
In fact, they are so endangered that they are truly heading toward extinction.
Do you know why they are poached?
“The horns.” you say? Yup. Of course. (Why is it ALWAYS about something phallic, anyway?)
Since it is believed that the most valuable part of the horn is closest to the face, poachers basically cut off part of the rhino’s face to take the horn.
The rhino dies.
Do you know why the horns are taken?
Weapon? Trophy? Fancy Gift? Unbreakable dildo?
If you’ve guessed any of the above, or if you’re already crying about dead rhinos, give yourself a nice dark chocolate marzipan bar, because you’re either fairly smart, or have wonderful empathy.
Although “aphrodisiac” is still the most commonly believed reason for rhino poaching, click this link for a great article that tackles the misconceptions about rhino poaching and replaces them with what is known now, and which countries are trafficking them the most.
It is believed to be medicinal in some areas as well, but as our tour guide explained at the Lion and Rhino Reserve, practices of using crushed rhinoceros horn in medicine also uses several types of plants. It’s the plants that are now believed to contain medicinal properties. The horn itself is keratin; basically the same material as your fingernails. Not just covered in keratin with a bony core, but completely keratin.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re part of the “choir” and already believe rhinoceros poaching is a bad thing, but really, what can you do about it anyway? It’s not like you’re living in a country buying, selling or otherwise endorsing rhino horn trade…right? And it’s not like you’re planning to go poach one.
I’m not going to lay the whole shock effect on you and show you a photograph of a dead, poached rhino. You can Quack that if you don’t believe just how awful and gruesome it is.
Education is the only thing that will change the mindset of poachers, and of buyers. All the anti-poaching protection doesn’t change the perspective of the poachers or buyers. They only learn to get sneakier, or more aggressive. For that reason, I strongly recommend this program: Inspire a Wildlife Hero which teaches African children to care about wildlife, working to raise a new generation to think of rhinos and other animals as valuable as a living treasure of their country.