Commercial poaching has become big business, thanks to the boom in populations and the "new wealth" in Asia. Consumption of products derived from endangered species is flourishing be it for 'Medicinal' purposes, trinkets and status symbols or just simply to be on the menu. Subsequently rhino poaching has escalated dramatically in recent years and is being driven by the demand for rhino horn in Asian countries, particularly Vietnam and China, due to its use as a status symbol to display someone's success and wealth and in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Although there is no scientific proof of its medicinal value, rhino horn is still highly prized in traditional Asian medicine. It is ground into a fine powder or manufactured into tablets as a treatment for a variety of illnesses such as nosebleeds, strokes, convulsions, and fevers. Despite intensive conservation efforts, poaching of this iconic species is still increasing across South Africa and pushing the remaining rhinos closer and closer towards extinction. If the killing continues at the same rate, we could see rhino deaths overtaking births in 2016-2018, meaning rhinos will go extinct in the very near future.
Photo: Black Mambas