|Rhino in Kruger National Park. 448 rhino were killed in South Africa in 2011, and over 450 have been killed so far this year. Prior to 2007, only about 15 rhino were poached each year.|
We were really lucky while we were in South Africa, because we managed to see (and photograph) quite a few rhinos. Increasingly, all kinds of rhinos are facing seemingly imminent extinction because they are being poached for their horns faster than they can reproduce. Some estimates say that they will be extinct by 2015; I really hope that won't be so.
What you can do: donate money to anti-poaching efforts (poachers have lots of money for technology from the sale of stolen rhino horns - they fly in on helicopters, shoot the rhino, cut off the horn, and then fly away again - anti-poaching teams have a hard time competing). You can also educate anyone you know who might be willing to pay for rhino horn (it's lauded as an aphrodisiac, but is really just made up of keratin, the same substance that makes our fingernails and hair).
I know this might sound a little preachy, and I usually try to avoid that on this blog, but it's sad to know that I may have seen some of the last of this beautiful and majestic animal.