4 min read

We Don't Even Know How Many Rhinos Are Being Killed

<p> Steven Gill / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-93412264/stock-photo-white-rhino.html?src=AKZYsNy1tYU0erK_6MZNoA-1-36" target="_blank">Shutterstock</a> </p>

Thandi was poached. Hope was poached. #72 was poached. Right?

Not according to the South Africa government.

Recently Saving the Survivors lost #72, a bull who was shot several times and died as a result of his injuries.

#72. Photo: Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center

(WARNING: Graphic photo below.)

His autopsy showed the bullets from his poaching ordeal ricocheted inside his body. His vertebra was damaged, and fragments of shattered bone were found throughout his body, creating more internal injuries - he had an abscess below his vertebra, and only had 75 percent lung capacity as his lungs were punctured.

As a result there was internal bleeding. Organ and tissue degeneration were evident, signs that his system was in the process of shutting down. The painkillers we administered during his treatments made it possible for him to walk, and offered him some relief. It's evident that no amount of input from the medical team would have changed the eventual tragic outcome.

Yet #72 is not a poaching statistic.

Hope didn't die, but they took her horn; yet she is not a poaching statistic either.

To put it simply: if a rhino is killed in a poaching incident but they do not take the horns - it will not be listed as a poaching statistic.

Any baby (calf) that is killed during a poaching of his mother (cow) does not form part of the statistics.

The government refuses to publish the exact numbers of poachings, claiming it takes too much time from their busy schedules. In addition, obviously their very definition of poaching is questionable.

Poaching: to illegally hunt or catch (game or fish) on land that is not one's own, or in contravention of official protection.

This is the literal definition the government utilizes. Yet surely in these desperate times it does not apply or accurately reflect the crisis at hand.

The figures that you get are terribly skewed. That is why it is critical for every rhino, no matter the expense, to be saved. We are losing them faster than you think. What are your thoughts on this?