Target: Lisa Marabini, Director, Aware Trust Zimbabwe
Goal: Praise aggressive new measures to save rhinos from extinction due to poaching.
Scientists, veterinarians, and conservation workers in Zimbabwe have come up with a groundbreaking new way to prevent the rampant poaching that is decimating the country’s rhino populations. A team of experts have begun dehorning the country’s 700 adult rhinos in order to deter poachers, who kill the animals to harvest their horns. Without their horns, the animals are largely valueless to cruel poachers, who sell the horns for top dollar to Asian countries.
Rhino horn is ground up and used in traditional Asian medicine. It is believed to cure many diseases, including cancer, and is also used as an aphrodisiac. These horns, which are composed of keratin, the same material that makes up human nails, can fetch tens of thousands of dollars in medicinal markets.
In order to dehorn the rhinos, they are first darted with tranquilizer. The rhinos are then laid down with their eyes and ears covered while trained professionals remove most of their horns. A special tar paste is then put onto the remaining bit of horn in order to prevent painful cracking. When done properly, the horns will grow back and the rhino will experience no permanent effects.
Dehorning has been proven to be successful in conjunction with the increased presence of conservation officers. In Namibia in the early 1990’s, not a single rhino that was part of the dehorning program was poached. Other experiments throughout Africa found that dehorned rhinos had a 29 percent higher chance of surviving than horned animals.
While this seems like a rash measure, the fact that rhinos are at serious risk of extinction suggests that these measures are warranted. This new project could end up turning the tide in the rhinos’ fight for survival. Sign the petition below to praise these measures, which will help address rampant poaching.
Dear Lisa Marabini,
Veterinarians, conservation workers, and scientists have come together to dehorn all 700 of Zimbabwe’s adult rhinos. This measure, while rash, could save the species from extinction due to rampant poaching. Without their horns, these rhinos are nearly valueless to poachers, who sell the horns to be used in traditional Asian medicine.
Dehorning has been proven to reduce or entirely stop poaching. These measures could ensure the survival of this struggling species. We, the undersigned, thank you for your work to implement this groundbreaking initiative.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jo Benn