Illegal Poaching by B.T.

They cock the gun back, fire the tranquilizer shot into the animal and within a  matter of minutes, the animal is passed out. It takes the people just minutes to dissect the animal, get the valuable parts and get away. They just leave the leftover parts of the animal to rot away. That is just a simple, and less graphic, way that people will poach animals. People will poach animals for many reasons but the main reason is for money. Poachers tend to be drawn more towards rhinos due to their rarity and value. Depending on the animal, poachers can receive up to $30,000 per pound ($66,000 per kilogram) of rhino horn. This will motivate people to poach endangered animals even if they know it is the wrong thing to do. People need to understand how bad poaching is and what is truly happening to these animals that are so brutally murdered.

In 2007, just 13 rhinos were poached and killed in South Africa whereas in 2014, 1215 rhinos were poached (Poaching: The Statistics). It is not just an increase in the amount of rhinos being poached. There has been an increase in elephant poaching and even Mountain Gorillas (Africa Is Home…). The reason the number of poached animals has gone up so dramatically in the past decade is that the price has gone up an incredible amount. In 2010, the price of elephant ivory was $750 per kilogram (about $340 per pound) but now, in 2015, it is worth $2,100 per kilogram (about $954 per pound) (Wildlife Traffiking). That is almost a 200% increase in price. Due to the increase in poaching and the desire for rhino horns, the population of rhinos has dramatically decreased. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were about half a million living rhinos around the world but in the 1970’s, that number dropped a considerable amount to about 70,000 living rhinos and to date, there are only about 29,000 rhinos living (Rhino Population Figures). That number will not stop dropping until something is done to protect those rhinos.

I went to Africa in the summer of 2014 with my family and it changed the way we looked at the animal kingdom. We went to a resort called Borana Lodge, in Kenya, which was on a rhino preserve. In response to the rising number of poached rhinos per year, Borana has kept a 24 hour watch on all of the rhinos there making sure to have the most up to date technology to keep these incredible animals safe. The men watching the rhinos are outfitted with rifles and night vision goggles so they can see the rhinos even when it is pitch black out. The same man are also payed as much as Borana Lodge can offer. Due to their intensive work to keep these animals alive, they are watching about 20% of all of the rhinos in Kenya. But they can still be bribed by poachers, who are willing to pay them a higher price, to turn the other cheek (Saving the Last of the Rhino).

For rhinos, they are normally hunted for the horns because they are thought to have some sort of medicinal properties, even though it has been scientifically proven to have no medical help to the human body (Saving the Last of the Rhino). The rhino horn is just made up of densely packed keratin which is the same material found in human fingernails. It is a wonder people still want it in the first place! Rhino’s horns will also grow back if cut further away from the base of the horn. But due to the poachers greed, they will normally kill the rhinos for the extra few kilograms of the horns and in extreme cases, cut off the rhinos entire head.
No matter the situation, any type of animal should never be put in harms way just for the benefit out people. Animals have the right to live happy lives and not worry about people coming and brutally murdering them or their family members. No matter how much money a rhino’s horn is worth, nothing is worth an animal’s life.


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