Rhinos are among the most endangered species of animal on the planet today. One of the greatest threats to the survival of the rhino species is from poachers hunting rhinos for their prized horn.
Trade in rhino horn or its by-products is banned under the CITES agreement (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) signed by more than 120 countries, however, poaching and illegal trading continues.
The rhino’s horn has long been an ingredient in Chinese medicine – for over 4,500 years and it is used widely in the treatment of fevers, arthritis, rheumatism and strokes.
The horn is not only used for medicine, it is also seen as a status symbol and it is incorporated into items both decorative and functional. During the 1970s, the demand for rhino horn dagger handles in North Yemen actually led to massive amounts of poaching, particularly of the black and white rhino variety.
Other than poaching, Asian rhinos have also suffered from loss of their rainforest and marshland habitat, which is mainly due to human settlement and expanding agriculture in the region. Asian rhinos once ranged widely across south and Southeast Asia but they are now only found in very small isolated areas. This could certainly contribute to their future extinction because of the small number of rhino adults with which to breed.
There are believed to be less than 70 remaining Javan rhinos in the wild. The work being done by the WWF is hugely important in helping to prevent the eradication of this magnificent animal. The WWF seeks to fund projects to protect rhinos in their natural habitat such as helping with anti-poaching efforts, captive breeding programmes and the movement of rhinos from vulnerable areas to safe havens for them to live.
With your help, the WWF can continue this work. Sponsor a rhino today – by choosing to adopt a rhino you can make a difference.