Lately, I’ve found myself more and more drawn towards destinations that feature animals and the beauty of nature as the main attraction. I went swimming with dolphins in Zanzibar last year and recently jetted off to Hermanus to do some whale watching. A friend of mine also suggested travelling to Rwanda, the last place where the endangered silverback gorilla can still be seen in its natural habitat, a journey I would seriously consider were it not for the political upheaval in that area.
South Africa is known as a wildlife destination. Tourists come here to see the Big Five – lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. Anyone who has seen one of these animals up close will agree with me that all the superlatives are applicable – awesome, majestic, breathtaking, amazing… And unfortunately, also jeopardized, threatened, vulnerable.
Which is why it makes my blood boil to read about the 210 rhinos that have been killed this year alone in South Africa. Organised syndicates are decimating our rhino population for their horns, which are used as aphrodisiacs in East Asia. Aphrodisiacs! From what I’ve read, rhino horn is basically made from the same stuff as human fingernails. Why don’t they ground that up and drink that instead?! It certainly also doesn’t help that a certain celebrity admitted to using rhino horn, although she later claimed she was only joking, after being publicly slammed for it.
Some relevant news articles can be read here:
- Rhino Poaching Vets Arrested
- 5 Rhinos Killed in Pilanesberg
- Elle MacPherson Slammed for Using Powdered Rhino Horn
The World Wildlife Fund in South Africa has declared today Rhino Day. Their site states that South Africa is losing 20 of these animals per month, and that about 600 rhinos have been poached across the African continent in the past five years. They’ve called upon everyone concerned about rhino welfare to dust off their leftover World Cup vuvuzelas and make as much noise as possible at 13:00 GMT today as a symbolic act of defiance against rhino poaching. Read more about it here, and on how to make a donation to support the cause.
Even if you decide not to act on the WWF’s call, please take note of our rhinos’ plight, and avoid using products containing rhino horn.
How do you feel about the use of rhino horn? Or ivory or any other animal product? Do you believe in conservation?