Rhinos in Africa have been hunted and poached for their horns to the extent that they are almost extinct. Now a radical idea to save them is under way.
- From Real Estate to Rhinos
An Australian real estate agent called Ray Dearlove has decided that rhinos should be airlifted and sent to Australia. How it will work is that rhinos will be quarantined in the South African city of Johannesburg, and then from there they will be transported to Australia. After being quarantined at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, they will then be taken to Monarto Zoo that is situated outside Adelaide. The first six rhinos are set to be moved from Africa to Australia this April.
- A New Life
The important thing is to make the rhinos adapt to their new habitat and be able to breed. This will be accomplished by finding homes for them in Australia and finally placing them in the bush so that they will be in a natural, comfortable environment.
- Is This Really A Must?
If you’re wondering if such drastic measures are needed, consider this: the amount of rhinos that are killed has surpassed the animals’ birth rate. This airlifting initiative is not the first big attempt that's been made to save the rhinos. They have been fenced, had their rhino horns cut off so that they would not be appealing to hunters, and been protected by anti-poaching rangers, but still poaching has continued. The South African government has not released poaching statistics for the last year or so and this is troubling. However, it has been said that the average rate of rhino killings is more than three every single day.
Rhino horns are used for traditional medicines and they fetch so much money that they are considered more valuable than gold. The animals, however, are more valuable and it’s thanks to efforts from people like Ray Dearlove that the world doesn’t forget this.
- Dangers of Poaching
Besides for the unnecessary and cruel death of animals, poaching has other negative consequences. These include a negative effect on the economy of the local community. This is especially the case if animals are used to attract tourists. Another problem with poaching is that the loss of animal species impacts the delicate balance of the ecosystem. As an example, regions where the smallest number of rhinos live have been found to have up to 80 percent less short grass (that is, a range of plants that get eaten by animals) covering it than where there are many rhinos in a location. In fact, the presence of rhinos means that there are 20 times more grazing grass that are also eaten by other animals, such as antelope. This shows that rhinos play a part in the make-up of grasslands.