Sadly, the last male white rhino, Sudan, on the northern hemisphere has died. There are still a couple of females living but the species is that much closer to going extinct.Apparently, there are still some 20,000 (give or take) white rhinos living in the Southern Hemisphere… but still. Sudan spent his last time living under 24-hour armed security watching out for poachers, but ended up dying of age related complications.
I don’t get it.
Why do people have to be so cruel? I’ve been fortunate enough to see rhinos up close in the wild when I was in South Africa last year. We sat in an open Safari truck just a few feet away from a crash of rhinos… a group of rhinos is called a crash. It was the most amazing experience (one of many that we had on the trip). These rhinos, which we’d normally only seen in small groups of 2-3, were grazing so quietly and peacefully…just minding their own business. We were able to sit right by them without them even giving us a glance (at least it felt that way).
I must admit, I was awestruck. In that moment, and pretty much in any and every moment when we came upon wild animals, I felt completely as peace. I honestly, just wanted to jump out of the truck and hug them …but, of course, I knew that I couldn’t do that.
I don’t get why people would hurt them. But then I realize that it all comes down to money, to greed and to survival. And then it all makes sense.
Of course, people would kill these innocent animals because they will get paid, maybe, a couple of hundred US-dollars for their horn, which is in high demand on the Asian market because rhino horn powder is believed to be an aphrodisiac.
For a poor African person, perhaps with no education, no job and no other way to feed a family…shooting a rhino and making a few hundred US-dollars (or whatever the going rate is, I don’t know), may be the difference between surviving or not. And they may not know any better. They may not realize that their supply isn’t infinite and that it’s running out – rapidly. They may not have the long-term vision that tells them that their future lives, Africa, their eco-system and the world will be forever changed if these animals go extinct.
Which is crazy…
So now, the northern rhino is virtually on the brink of extinction because of us…humans and for what? So that Asian men can get a libido fix? So that some people can have a figurine carved out of rhino horn displayed in their living room?
I don’t know a out you, but I’d much rather admire these wild animals (and all wild animals) where they belong – living and breathing in the wild.
Photos: Rhinos that I saw while on safari in South Africa (2017).