The rhinos of Africa are beginning to face a bleak future it seems. Poachers have been mercilessly massacring large scales of these majestic animals for their horns, which are believed to contain supernatural powers against various illnesses. Among the countries badly hit by this ongoing crisis is South Africa. The nation has lost a total of 333 rhinos in the hands of poachers. Recently, five more were killed in the first weeks of 2011. Zimbabwe, on the other hand, has lost a total of seven rhinos from early December to January 19th. Many of these poachers are well-organized and well-funded, according to wildlife officials, and work for powerful syndicates which provide them with light aircrafts to carry out their dastardly deeds. There have even been cases reported far up north in Kenya, which had lost six to 21 rhinos from 2008 to 2009. According to Kenya Wildlife Service official Patrick Omondi, twenty rhinos were killed in 2010. He further added that a temporary lift of an international ban on rhino poaching in 2007 opened a window of opportunity for poachers to smuggle rhino horns into Southeast Asia, rather than stopping them. Vitalis Chidenga, a Zimbabwe-based wildlife chief, stated that world efforts to persuade the public about rhino horns having no medicinal properties failed to show results in Asia.
The news about Africa's ongoing rhino poaching crisis have been making headlines continuously. Based on these reports, it appears the poachers have become more powerful in this battle to save the rhinos. What is worse is that despite the temporary ban in 2007, these ruthless and sophisticated poachers never backed down. I do not know what may be the best solution in dealing with this threat. But all these countries that have been plagued by this crisis should team up with each other, along with other African countries known to have rhinos. They all should keep in contact with each other, and help each other out in intercepting the poachers and smugglers. However, I also feel that people in Southeast Asia should open their eyes and come to their senses that rhino horns, as with any body part of an endangered wild animal, contain no medicinal properties. It is all an illusion. And due to this bizarre and untrue belief, rhinos and other endangered species have become victims of poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.
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