On Sunday, park rangers followed the sound of 11 bullets and found six rhinos dead, lying in pools of their own blood.
Despite the fact that elephants and rhinos may soon go extinct due to illegal hunting practices and loss of habitat, poachers are relentless in their quest to obtain both rhino horn and ivory elephant tusks. And for what? A pay day which offers temporary gain.
As horrific as this, nothing can beat what recently occurred at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi in South Africa. According to News 24, six rhinos were recently killed in just one night by poachers. On Sunday, 11 gunshots were heard — undoubtedly, the shots of death which took down the great beasts. When rangers arrived at the scene, they found six rhinos laying in pools of their own blood, their horns hacked off.
According to authorities, poachers have been increasingly targeting the KwaZulu-Natal reserve since the Kruger National Park (which has experienced its own poaching tragedies) improved its own security in recent months.
Though the white rhino is on the endangered species list, 139 have been killed in the province of KwaZulu-Natal just this year. In fact, it’s estimated that the number of rhino deaths in the province may exceed 250 by the end of 2017. Since 2007, more than 6,000 rhinos have been shot and killed for their horns — which are made of keratin, the same stuff as your fingernails. Most of those have taken place in the past four years.
One critic of the weekend’s killing is former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen, a South Africa native. He told the press, “Thirty-one rhinos killed this last weekend. Just let that sink in, Just less than one an hour”
“This is a war,” he added.
As England’s fifth-highest run scorer, Pieterson has a platform which he is using to raise awareness about the poaching crisis. In fact, he is presently working on a documentary about the topic which is based in his homeland, relays the Daily Mail.
Though conservationists have employed dozens of tactics to deter poachers, including dying rhino horns pink, progress has been slow. Let’s hope a solution is presented soon, or future generations may never be able to see rhinos up close.
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