Trying to Save These Rhinos Has Killed Them Instead

Authorities continue to investigate why nine of 13 rhinos died as part of a translocation programme.
Thursday 19 July 2018
All species of rhino are considered threatened with very few surviving in the wild. Photo: Pixabay

Extinction. A word heavy with finality and sad in its inevitability. That is, if we don’t change anything about how we share the world with our fellow creatures.

Often overlooked are the fragile ecosystems upon which biodiversity depends – if one species vanishes from the earth, the domino effect can have a drastic impact on the environment in which it lived.

For instance, if bees were to be wiped out, we’d lose US$30 billion a year in crops, all the plants that are pollinated and eventually, all the animals whose survival depends on those plants. It’s just bad news all around.

But wait, the bad news doesn’t stop there (though we wish it did).

In a recent effort to move 13 critically endangered black rhinoceros to a new reserve in Southern Kenya, a ninth critically endangered black rhino was reported dead after a botched operation, as quoted by the country’s tourist minister on Tuesday.

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KWS translocation team members assist to revive a black rhinoceros from a sedative and load the animal into a transport crate as one of three individuals about to be translocated. Photo: Tony Karumba/AFP

On Friday, it was reported that eight of the 13 rhinos were reported by officials to have died. Investigations are ongoing as to the cause of their deaths.

Shedding light on the situation, Kenyan Tourist Minister Najib Balala said that “The preliminary report that we got from the experts from Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) [indicate that] it’s the saline water they drank.”

The minister confirmed that he had seen the 18 horns that belonged to the dead animals and that none had gone missing following the fatalities.

“The beauty is that all these horns have transmitters and electronic chips,” he said.

Let’s just absorb that statement for a moment. Isn’t it worrisome that this is what we’ve come to and that these are the measures we have to take?

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A dehorned white rhino. Photo: Pixabay

Despite black rhino figures being critically low (there are less than 5,000 left on earth according to Save The Rhinos) poaching remains a problem.

According to KWS figures, nine rhinos were killed in Kenya last year with three shot dead inside a specially protected sanctuary in northern Kenya. They were found with their horns removed.

Tragically, in March this year, Sudan, the last male northern white rhino on earth, was put down as an act of kindness by Kenyan vets after falling extremely ill, leaving two female white rhinos as the sole survivors of the species.

The sad irony of it is, rhinos have few natural enemies in the wild but are instead targeted by humans instead for the perceived and misguided medicinal qualities in their horns, which can fetch tens of thousands of dollars on the black market.

In Vietnam specifically, they’re absurdly marketed to treat hangover cures for the nouveau riche. So a word to those out there who unfortunately happen to be nursing a hangover – it’s called a greasy meal and a cup of coffee, k? And if that isn’t bougie enough, try an IV drip.

Looking for ways to help the black rhino? Click here and here.

Source: AFP Relaxnews