Less than two short weeks after heavily armed men attacked the Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage in South Africa and killed two baby rhinos for their tiny horns, poachers shocked the conservation world again by breaking into the Thoiry Zoo in France and shooting a four-year-old white rhino three times in the head before making off with his horn. Welcome to the world of rhino poaching 3.0, where no rhino is safe if its whereabouts are known.
Prior to reaching this stage, the outlook for the rhino species was already extremely grim, as every single day, at least three rhinos lose their lives for the sake of ignorance. That’s because some, primarily in Asia, think that rhino horn is more than mere keratin – the same substance as our own fingernails. Instead, they believe the horn material can be effectively used to cure cancer, hangovers and the common cold. This, of course, couldn’t be further from the truth, but as long as these perceptions continue, the horns of these peaceful grazers will continue to be more valuable than gold. And now we’re seeing just how far poachers will go to rake in those riches.
It’s become clear that if we are to save these critically endangered species, we have no choice but to form a special witness protection program of sorts and guard them with the utmost security in undisclosed locations where they can’t easily be found. Zoos can’t offer that level of protection.
Thoiry Zoo, in particular, has demonstrated that it does not have the safeguards in place to keep its animals free from harm’s way. So today, we call on Thoiry Zoo to do what’s right for these endangered species and allow its remaining rhinos to be transferred to an undisclosed sanctuary where they cannot be so easily accessed by these vicious killers.
Sign this petition on Care2 urging Thoiry Zoo director Thierry Duquet to set the right example and lead the way to better preservation for endangered rhinos before it’s too late.
Image source: Mr.Cheangchai Noojuntuk/Shutterstock