Perhaps one of Africa's most iconic creatures, the rhino (both of the black and white variety) is a must on any wildlife watchers tick list. Sadly however, these magnificent animals are becoming increasingly endangered. With white rhino populations only numbering 20,000 and black rhino numbers at an all-time low of around 5,000 - the issue is becoming critical.
Last year a record 1,004 rhinos were illegally poached in South Africa. Sadly, another 821 have been killed this year, and the number is still looking to drastically increase, thus highlighting the need for rhino conservation across Africa, especially with regards to black rhino conservation.
This explosion in poaching is only relatively recent – only 13 rhinos were poached in South Africa in 2007. The key reason behind this is the astronomical price of rhino horn. Amazingly, it can reach $100,000 a kilogram on the black market, rivalling, if not overtaking, the price of cocaine, gold and even platinum!
Rhino projects are therefore, critical in combating this and as a
wildlife conservation volunteer you will be assisting on the front line. So why not volunteer with rhinos today to make a difference.
There are five different species of rhino, each of which are endangered but to different extents. The most endangered is the Javan rhino, and the fact that there are only 58-61 remaining makes it the rarest large mammal on Earth. The Sumatran rhino has marginally more of its species remaining with 100, and the Greater one-horned rhino has a population of around 3,300. Then we come to the two more well-known rhino species. The Black rhino is estimated to have around 5,455 individuals remaining, and the White rhino 21,077. These numbers are a clear indication that something needs to change soon.
Rhinos may look strong and almost invincible, but they are not and they are struggling to survive. Reasons include: