september 22 is world rhino day, meant to raise awareness about the struggle faced by all five species of rhino, help curtail the supply of rhino horns, and highlight efforts to ensure the animal’s continued survival.
one such effort involves a four man anti poaching team tasked with guarding the ol pejeta conservancy’s four remaining northern white rhinos. with only eight left, it is the world’s most endangered species. located in the laikipia district of kenya, ol pejeta conservancy is also the largest sanctuary for the black rhino.
the rise in asia’s middle class has meant that demand for rhino horn has soared, with prices on the black market exceeding that of gold and cocaine. with an increase in poaching in ol pejeta, the anti poaching team now provides twenty four hour armed protection for the rhinos, and has developed a close relationship with the animals.
poachers will track rhinos from helicopters, darting them from above and then hacking off the horn and part of the face with a chainsaw. the animals are often left to suffer and die. the rhinos seen here were found wandering in unimaginable pain, but remarkably survived thanks to timely veterinary supervision.
to protect the rhinos and deter poachers, veterinarians will remove much of the animal’s horn (as seen in the second last photo). the rhinos are anesthetized, and suffer no trauma. the horn is not like an elephant’s tusk, and will grow back in a few years.
photos by brent stirton’s. see also: posts on the efforts of the lewa wildlife conservancy and the black rhino range expansion project
These animals are dying out for the greed of human beings. The more who see this, the more will think about animal poaching