The Methods to Protect the Black Rhino Populations from Poaching

Ecosystems can change for a multitude of reasons, and most often the cause of this change is progress for society and humanity. Farmland is upturned. forests are cut down and burned for economic means and for society’s convenience Africa has experienced this to a great extent due to their abundance of natural resources. Their natural resources are sold and distributed to help support their communities however the way this is done is quite deteriorating to the ecosystem they are in.

poaching large game has been a large issue, considering how profitable it is too many Rhino horn is a valuable commodity on many Asian markets and sell for a high price. An African poacher can make quite a sum off just one kill that could last them for a long while due to the low availability and high demand of the rhino horn. Since poverty is widespread in Africa, this is a fairly common and appealing way to make revenue however the amount of poaching occurring is high and very dangerous to the fragile environment and the endangered black rhino.

The market for black rhino comes from eastern Asian cultures belief that the horn has cancer treating properties, as well as use as an aphrodisiac. The highest demand for rhino horn stems from thailand and the philippines however these are not the only countries that participate in the trade. Although hunting these rhinos is illegal. the market is quite large for poaching due to the immense value that these horns can make.

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In the current years preventative measures has caused the price of the ham to increase where a poacher can make roughly 200.000 to 400.000 dollars off of the killing of one rhino. In the past few years the price has risen so much that the price of a kilogram of rhino horn is actually more expensive than a kilogram of cocaine on the black market.

A kilogram of this horn can fetch up to 100.000 dollars and the horns usually range from 2 to 4 kilograms in weight. leaving a large profit for those hunting them. Although the penalties are high for those caught poaching these animals. for many in Africa the benefits outweigh the risk. Since many in these African countries have high levels of poverty. poaching is a popular way to make money to help a family in need financially stable. The money made off of just one rhino horn can help support a poacher and their family for well over a year due to the high demand for the horn. This is a dangerous trend for the wellbeing of the rhinos however. As the populations of the already endangered rhinos continue to diminish, the price only increases causing a higher incentive for poachers, which is a slippery slope that could lead to the extinction of the animal if prevention is not quickly and efficiently put into place, sanctuaries have been put into place to help isolate the black rhinos as a way to isolate these animals from those who are hunting them.

However it has become a game in which relocation must be ahead of the poachers as a means to restore the rhino populations, South Africa with about eighty-two percent of the rhino population has been the most susceptible to the poaching and needs the highest degree of protection to the threat of poaching. In 2007 South Africa faced the highest amount of poaching with roughly seventy-five percent of rhino poached in that country alone. Relocation is the most common method of protection, as a means to hide and avoid those that have access to the black market trade of rhino horn. With the increase of the price of rhino horn. the cost of protection has increased as well, the amount of poaching has increased exponentially in the past five years, demanding a higher amount of resources as a means to protect this endangered species.

As a way to help the population of the black rhinos many different methods have been suggested along with those that are already in use. The most common and used method of prevention has been relocation of the populations in order to protect the rhinos as well as encourage breeding. In the past few years many sanctuaries have been established to help isolate and grow the communities of rhinos without the interference of humans and poachers alike. The main concept behind relocation is it gives the species an opportunity to reproduce in a safer environment, as well as lower the density of the communities in order to broaden the population over a greater area as well as encourage growth into multiple communities, or different herds that are more abundant over the continent. With the population spread out to different areas, there a greater opportunity for reproduction and resources for the given rhino communities, which yield a higher rate of reproduction. along with a higher amount of resources available to support the new rhino populations (OkitarOuma, Benson).

This method has been shown to be fairly impractical however because the amount of poaching that is occurring is happening at a higher quantity then the new offspring that are being born in the wild. This is a tricky task due to the aggressive and territorial nature of rhinos. When being translocate, this all must be done in afairly short period of time to lower the chance of aggression between different rhinos since the rhinos in a new location have not quite yet been established in their new areas. Although this helps to skew and slow the amount of poaching that is occurring, it still does not put the situation in the favor of the rhino populations, even if it does stimulate reproduction and slow the amount of poaching that is occurring. The amount of rhinos that are poached still continue to increase because of the extreme high demand for the horn and the opportunity of hunters that wish to turn a profit of off the horn of this animal. Different legal methods to prevent the spread of this illegal trade have been considered yet few have been put into action.

Many governments have identified the cause of the poaching from the demand of the Asian markets, and a possible way to prevent increased poaching is to decrease the demand by the markets. This is a very different approach for protection given that it focuses on the economic bases for the illegal trade rather than strictly the ecological way to help conserve and protect the rhinoceros populations. A possible alternative that has been suggested is the unrestricted trade of rhino horn on the market. Although this sounds quite counterproductive, with an open market the price would go down and would decrease the need for illegal killings. Instead of killing the wild populations through hunting, the horn would be sold through legitimate vendors that would breed rhinoceroses strictly for the use of the horn. This has not been established as a used method yet in Africa due to its illegal trade of the horn, however it policies and laws were changes this is a very low risk alternative to the current methods of protection which have been fairly unsuccessful prevention the illegal killing of this animal.

It the rhinos were breaded for the horn there would be less demand for poaching yet there is no proof that it would be productive enough to slow hunting enough to restore the wild populations as a whole. Another issue is even if the legislation was passed to allow this trade it would take years to establish the breeders and legal harvest of the horn on the market, leavung a gap for an increase of illegal poaching as a way to fill the gap between legality and supply from breeders. Although this is a low risk and safe method to help the populations, the legal barriers and issue with breeding time would be a large burden in the market and would take a large time to decrease the overall hunting of the black rhinoceros. A fairly new method that has been established is the application of toxic chemicals to the rhino horn to those in the wild.

This toxin does not harm the rhino however it destroys the potential use of the born for consumers and makes the horn worthless to poachers. This is a fairly efficient method however it is hard to distinguish these toxins on the horn from those who have not been effected, so a rhinoceros may be killed before it is determined that they would not benefit from its killing. Overall the current uses of prevention for the endangered black rhinoceros species have been fairly unsuccessful, and new methods must be establish to prevent hunting to the point where their population can be reestablished. A large amount of funds have gone into their protection, and the problem has only gotten worse in the recent years. New methods must be enacted as a way to have the population increased to a point where the species is no longer threatened, and all of these new methods have been debated yet none have been productively used. In the end a new approach must be established in order to save this species before they become extinct due to the crisis of poaching that is consistently depleting the black rhino population.

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The Methods to Protect the Black Rhino Populations from Poaching. (2023, Jan 14). Retrieved from

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