There’s nothing like the announcement of a baby to spark joy and happiness among families and friends. A baby can offer a sense of hope for the future – that perhaps the little one will live a better life, with more opportunities than his or her parents.
The same goes for wild animals, particularly rhinos, who are in desperate need of some hope as their populations drops lower and lower every day. But thankfully, just last week, a Sumatran rhino named Ratu gave birth to a baby girl at a sanctuary in Lampung, Indonesia.
Let’s welcome this beautiful baby rhino into the world!
And while celebrations are in order, we must first reflect: what kind of world is this baby rhino entering? Will she be able to live out her life in freedom? Why is her species in critical danger of extinction?
The answers lie in the rhino horn trade and habitat destruction. Across the world, rhinos are being killed for their horns at alarming rates. Their horns are wrongly believed to contain medicinal properties, despite being composed of keratin, the very same protein that makes up our hair and nails. Yet, because of demand for rhino horn, wildlife poachers have pushed almost every rhino subspecies in the world to the brink of extinction. In fact, at least three rhinos are killed for their horns every single day.
And as if the ivory trade wasn’t enough of a threat, rhinos and other animals native to Sumatra are suffering at the hands of the massive palm oil industry. If you can believe it, it’s currently estimated that around 300 football fields of rainforest are leveled to make way for palm oil plantations every hour in order to meet high consumer demand of palm oil. With only about 100 Sumatran rhinos left, this doesn’t put rhinos in a position to live peacefully and securely.
This is unacceptable by any standard and no world in which a baby rhino can safely live. It’s up to us to make sure this baby can thrive in this world, and we’ve got to do everything we can to ensure her safety!
How You Can Help
Take part in the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos to raise awareness for this species.
Read up on some of our previous articles on the topic:
Get involved with some of the great organizations out there which are fighting to rescue rhinos. These include:
Share this article to raise awareness of the urgent need to protect rhinos … before it’s too late.
All Image Source: Stephen Belcher/International Rhino Foundation