Last Sunday commemorated the species of rhinoceros with World Rhino Day. Held each and every year on September 22, the day is dedicated to bringing awareness to an animal which has roamed the Earth for over 50 million years.
To celebrate, large crowds of activists and animal enthusiasts gathered in many countries across the globe to march and show their support for the rhino species. Unfortunately, this year’s World Rhino Day carried a rather somber message of the dwindling of rhinos due to increased amounts of poaching. Sadly, almost 700 rhinos were killed in South Africa this year alone. Due to the surge in demand for rhino horns in Asia, the continual slaughter of the species has left less than 25,000 rhinos alive in that area. The rhino horns are sold on the black market to various areas of Asia due to their high regard as a status symbol. Certain areas of Vietnam also value the use of rhino horns because of their belief that they carry medicinal purposes.
The large concern that is now being focused on the hunting of rhinoceros stems from the recent extinction of the West African black rhinoceros almost two years ago. Now, with only five species of rhino alive today and three of them critically endangered, conservationists are increasing their efforts to preserve these wondrous species. Particularly, much focus is being given to the Javan rhino, one of the three endangered species and shockingly, the world’s rarest mammal. With no more than 50 Javan rhinos in existence today, these Indonesian natives are proof of how serious the issue of poaching is and the importance of eradicating the act altogether.