Rhinoceroses, for all their brute size (some of the five species of rhinos can reach a weight exceeding 4,600 pounds, or 2,100 kilograms) and an ability to gallop at speeds topping 35 miles (55 kilometers) an hour, are walking a very fine line between living and being wiped off the earth completely. The problem is rhinos have horns, and those horns are worth a lot of money to a lot of people. Which is why poachers, often using silenced, high caliber weapons, are willing to risk their own lives in order to claim a bounty that is worth more than gold on the black market.
Made almost entirely from keratin, the horn of the rhino is still used in medicinal remedies across Asia, where it is ground into a powder and mixed with liquids for patient consumption. It is also a prized possession for collectors without a conscience (if we may be so bold), who will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single horn. When there’s that much money involved, each rhino is like an unlocked Brinks truck, which is why parks across Africa are now employing armed guards as security.
Story by Jay Moon
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- Tackling the demand for rhino horn