Save Mona started in 2013 following the unprecedented number of rhinos being poached in South Africa.
We aim to collaborate with organisations on the ground in Africa and Asia to prevent poaching
of wild rhinoceros populations in an effort to prevent their extinction.

 

CFWA 2012 (1368)

 

RHINOS POACHED IN STH AFRICA IN 2014 :  1,215       RHINOS POACHED IN 2015:  550+

 

In 2015 we are excited to be teaming up with the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) to support their work in South Africa and Mozambique. We will soon release details of this initiative!

At Save Mona, we do not accept donations. Instead, we ask that you forward any donations to reputable organisations active in the prevention of poaching, the caring of rhino orphans, or in the education of the Asian communities who still have a thirst for rhino horn. With cooperation and global support, we can prevent the extinction of rhinos.

Background

There are currently five remaining species of rhinoceros:

- White rhino (Ceratotherium simum) with two subspecies:

  • Southern White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum simum)
  • Northern White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni)
Kruger National Park 2011

Southern White Rhino

- Black rhino (Diceros bicornis) with four subspecies:

  • Eastern Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis michaeli)
  • Western Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes)
  • South-central Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis minor
  • South-west Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis bicornis)

- Greater one horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis)

- Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)

- Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus)

The most recent extinction was of the Western Black Rhino which was lost in 2011.

Figures released in 2013 show that at the current rates of poaching, all of these rhinoceros species will be extinct in the wild by 2030, or possibly as soon as 2025. Wild populations of some, such as the Northern White Rhino will occur sooner due to their extremely low numbers (four in the wild).

Although habitat encroachment is a constant threat to all animals, the insidious and pervasive threat of poaching is the greatest reason for the current decline in rhino numbers. Rhinos are being poached for their horns.

 

What’s in a horn?

Rhino horn consists predominantly of keratin, the same material found in our finger and toe nails. It has been scientifically tested and found to have no medicinal qualities, yet due to its promotion in traditional medicines, its popularity continues to soar.

 

The market

Rhino horn is currently banned from legal sale and so its value on the black market has skyrocketed. Leaders in the market for horn are Vietnam and China, where it is mistakenly believed that consuming ground horn will cure ailments from cancer, to impotence or hangovers. Its popularity grew dramatically when a member of the Vietnamese government claimed that it cured his family member of cancer. The increasing numbers of people with growing wealth in these areas, along with increased incidences of cancer being identified, has left many turning to traditional healers and rhino horn in the mistaken belief that this will cure their cancer.

Rhino horn has also surged as a popular party ‘drug’ and as it is now worth more than its weight in gold or platinum, it is also perceived as a status symbol in these Asian cultures, further driving demand.

 

Poaching practices

Poaching involves killing an animal for its parts. In the case of the rhino, this means killing the animal to cut off its horn. Just like your fingernails, if the horn is trimmed, it can grow back. However, poachers are murdering rhinos and removing the whole horn, all the way into the animal’s skull.

Early poaching practices involved shooting animals and cutting off their horn with machetes or other tools such as pangas. Since 2007, poaching rates have increased over 5000% and poachers are becoming more sophisticated in their operations. Being heavily financed by international crime syndicates, some poachers use air surveillance to locate rhinos and dart them with powerful veterinary drugs. Less sophisticated groups utilise snares to entrap rhinos as well as any other animal that may fall prey to this indiscriminate killer.

Many rhinos are still alive whilst their horns are hacked off right down into their skills with knives, machetes or chainsaws. These animals are then left to slowly bleed to death whilst in excruciating pain. The following footage The real face of poaching is courtesy of Earth Touch and shows the barbaric nature of this heinous crime  (WARNING: graphic footage)

It must also be noted that many babies are orphaned when their mothers are killed as they will stay with her carcass until they ultimately starve, unless they are rescued by conservation groups. Witnessing this trauma has devastating effects on these orphans.

Once the horns have been brutally hacked off, they are smuggled across borders by various crime syndicates and ultimately end up in countries throughout Asia where they are sold as whole horns, jewellery and ornaments or in powdered form. Powdered rhino horn is commonly mixed with buffalo horn which is easier to obtain and not nearly as expensive for traffickers to source. The horn is then sold for thousands of dollars per kilogram to gullible and ill-informed consumers who add the powder to water, mix it and drink it.

 

What can I do?

We must act now to prevent the extinction of rhinos. Ending the market for the rhino horn and stopping the trade in wildlife products are the cornerstones of conservation for rhinos. Please take a look at our Get involved tab to find out more.

The Resources section of our web site provides lots more information about the illegal poaching and trading of rhino horn. It also highlights some of the positive steps to ending poaching as well as some of the barbaric proof of its ongoing threat.

We thank you for taking the time to increase your understanding of this devastating practice and we appreciate your support.

 

The Poachers’ Moon

The days are warm, the sun is clear
The African clouds are high
Conditions breed a bright-lit moon
In the rhino’s bushveld sky.

A mother trundles through the bush
Her baby by her side
There’s hope for a future full of peace
As the late-day sun subsides.

The poachers’ moon rises brightly
In the southern sky
Mona knows she is always safe
When reflected in her mother’s eye.

They creep through sand and bush and grass
Practiced stealth, expectations high
Their arms are heavy with guns and blades
Clandestine dollars in their eyes.

They know a big rhino was here today
Her horn large her baby still slight
There’s a crack of a twig just metres away
The huge bounty is right by their side.

The poachers’ moon rises brightly
In the southern sky
Mona knows she is always safe
When reflected in her mother’s eye.

They draw their guns, their target large
Expectations in the group are high
A shot rings out across the veld
She falls heavy with a tortured sigh.

Machetes held high the axe pierces her skull
Blows land heavily as she cries
Her blood runs thick her pain extreme
And what will become of her baby’s life?

The poachers’ moon rises brightly
In the southern sky
Mona knows she is always safe
When reflected in her mother’s eye.

The pain goes on her cries grow loud
Mona remonstrates with all her might
Cowardly butchers depart, blood-soaked sack concealed
She has no more strength to fight.

Her face mutilated, her breathing laboured
Hours pass as her pain grows high
Mona nudges her mother “get up, stay with me”
But her life passes with one last agonising cry.

The poachers’ moon descends again
From the southern sky
Mona can no longer see herself
Reflected in her mother’s eye.

An orphan now, she knows not why
She will stay by her mother’s side
Callous men making money from worldwide rhinos’ suffering
For fake potions and lotions and highs.

Mona’s days too are numbered without parents she will die
What becomes of orphans left behind?
They die slowly heartbroken, starving, thirsty and weak
When they’re all gone, we’ll ask ourselves WHY?

Jodie D’Arcy – Save Mona

Unfortunately, this tale is not uncommon.

Zoutnet released footage on line of a rhino calf mourning his slain mother.
This shows the world the distress caused by this callous act

Karen Trendler and her team now care for this (and many other) orphans.
Please support their work at Working Wild