The situation for the African Rhino has now reached critical levels and a record number of over 200 have already been illegally poached this year. Poachers often dart the rhino, or shoot it, and then hack off its horn. Some may survive the initial attack, but often die later from their horrific injuries.
This upsurge in poaching has been driven by an increased demand for their horns in Asia, particularly Vietnam. There, they grind the horn into powder and use it in traditional medicine to treat fevers, hangovers, and even cancer. Rhino horn is now seen as a prestigious and luxury item used as a symbol of status and itsí value has escalated beyond that of gold and cocaine. However, rhino horn has no curative properties and studies have shown it has no medical benefits. The horns are mostly made up of keratin, the same material as in human fingernails.
With the estimated population being estimated at 25,000, the African rhino in the wild may become extinct by 2025 if poaching continues at current rates