Rhinos and other animals are being poached on a daily basis throughout South Africa and in other countries too. You are probably wondering why this is? The horn of the rhino is sold for a lot of money on the black market. Poachers have absolutely no care for the animal they are killing and the possible baby animals that they are leaving as orphans; they simply care about money. Some animal poachers have even been known to pose next to the dead animals they have killed with big smiles on their face and it is clear that they think of these animals as their “trophies”. The sickening thing is that many see it as a sport and something to be proud of.
Rhino horns are very popular in Asian countries including Vietnam. One of the main reasons for this used to be the fact that these horns were used in ancient Chinese medicine because it they were believed to cure a number of ailments for a long time. As of recent years however, the popularity of horns in Asian countries is a little more shallow. The rhino horn is seen more as a status symbol – an ornament that is put in the home on display to signify one’s wealth.
The penalties for poaching vary but there have been some pretty severe ones, which should hopefully help to deter some poachers. Tichaona Mutyairi, the leader of a gang of rhino poachers in Zimbabwe was actually sentenced to 17 years in prison for a range of crimes against endangered animals. On the whole, however, most people who are caught poaching illegally will receive a fine if it is a first-time offense. Unfortunately, most poachers are not brought to justice because it is something that is very difficult to prove unless you actually see the act in action or have video footage of such an event.