Problem: The decline of black rhino populations in the wild.
The black rhino Diceros bicornis1 is the smaller of the two African rhino species; they are known to live in solitary as well as being shyer and more aggressive than the white rhino. Black rhinos are browsers eating shrubs, bushes and trees whereas white rhinos are grazers. Rhinos use their horns for several functions. These include defending their territories, defending their calves from other rhinos and predators and foraging for food in shrubs and bushes; this also includes digging for water and breaking branches. Male rhinos also use their horns during fights over territory or dominance over females during mating season. This ...view middle of the document...
An estimated number of 500,000 4 rhinos were roaming across Africa and Asia at the beginning of the 20th century, although, this number declined to 70,000 4 by 1970 and down to 29,000 4 rhinos in the wild right now. There has been a huge decrease in black rhino populations due to the poaching threat, “Large-scale poaching of the now critically endangered black rhino resulted in a dramatic 96% decline from 65,000 individuals in 1970 to just 2,300 in 1993”4.
There was once a very large population of black rhino throughout Africa. Early Europeans settlers often killed huge quantities of rhinos every day seeing them as pests. They are still considered as a pest by most farmers in Africa; they often graze on their products. Other hunted them for food as well as enjoyment of hunting such a large and vicious looking animal.
“The majority of rhino poaching is done for uses in traditional Chinese medicine”12. “The trade in rhino horn has been banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) since 1980.”5 On the other hand, even with increased conservation efforts and this ban, there is still an increase in demand for rhino horns on the black market. Rhino horns are smuggled in from Macao, Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Taiwan, and South Africa.
Rhino horn is an important component of traditional Chinese medicine. The process of using rhino horns are part of traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. The origin of the rhino horns mean little to nothing, the horns of any rhinos can be used for medical purposes. In traditional Chinese medicine the purpose of rhinos horns can be said to cure devil possessions and keep away all evil spirits. It is also been said that it can be used to help cure snake poisoning as well as removing hallucinations. Continuous administration is said to lighten the body.
In countries such as Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania records have been kept for statistics of rhino horn harvesting. This record has been kept since 1926. These records have shown that black rhinos have been the main target for the poacher; they would not hesitate to poach white rhinos. Black rhinos are hunted particularly since it is said to be a particularly precious ingredient. “During the 1930s, according to Nigel Leader-Williams (1992), declared exports from East Africa (then under British rule) averaged about 1,600 kilograms per year, which meant the death of some 555 black rhinos annually.”6 Even though this number has since soared to much larger numbers peaking at 3,400kg in the 1970’s, this equates to 1,180 rhinos dying each year throughout the 1970’s. This extremely large number has decreased due to increased efforts of conservation.
The amount of rhinos being poached in South Africa had gradually decreased to very small number. However in recent years there has been a surge in the how many rhinos are being poached. In 2013, the amount of rhinos being poached in South Africa almost doubled. - see fig 4. ...