It All Begins With Education – Meet Jericho
Posted September 1, 2016 & filed under Animal Blog
Did you know that of the five species of rhinos, three of them are critically endangered? Did you know that in 2015 there were over 1,200 rhinos killed in South Africa alone? Rhinos in the wild face an uncertain future because of poaching and habitat fragmentation. Most of the remaining rhinos in the wild are under constant watch by armed guards.
Of the five species of rhinos—black rhino, greater one-horned, Javan, Sumatran and white rhino—the black, Javan, and Sumatran rhinos are critically endangered. The greater one-horned are listed as vulnerable and the white rhinos are near threatened. You can see that they are in need of our help and education in the first step.
Rhinos are hunted and killed for their horns. The major demand for rhino horn is in Asia, where it is used in ornamental carvings and traditional medicine. Rhino horn is touted as a cure for hangovers, cancer, and impotence. However, their horns are not true horns; they are actually made of keratin—the same material that makes up our hair and nails. The fact is, rhino horn is no more effective at curing cancer than chewing on your fingernails.
The unfortunate reality is most rhinos are not able to survive unless they are in a protected space and, even then, it is difficult for rangers to protect such vast habitats. A large number of southern white rhinos were killed inside the Kruger National Park in South Africa last year. Wildlife trafficking, a cottage industry a little more than a decade ago, now ranks fourth on the world black market, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service police and economists.
While several states have considered or are now considering legislation to restrict or ban ivory and rhino horn sales within their borders, only a few have passed such legislation. You can help by staying informed and not purchasing anything made from rhino horn or elephant ivory, and by educating your family and friends.
Additionally, there are many reputable organizations that work tirelessly to protect and rescue rhinos in the wild. These non-profit organizations welcome donations to continue their efforts. Out of Africa Wildlife Park proudly supports the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of Africa’s wilderness and its denizens, particularly endangered species such as elephants and black rhinos.
It is our hope that after reading this or having an encounter with Jericho, our 6,000 pound southern white rhino, your heart will be touched forever. Jericho is the ambassador for his kind at our wildlife park. We will be celebrating his 20th birthday! When you visit, please take a moment to stop at his house. If you don’t see him, just call his name. He loves to meet new friends.
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”