Rhino poaching has been the talk of great controversy for quite a while now, yet it’s likely you are unaware of the severity of this dire situation. The rhino population is decreasing at an unprecedented rate. In the past decade, more than 7,245 African rhinos have been lost to poaching, translating to 3 rhinos per day.
Not to mention we saw a 9,000% growth in rhino poaching between 2007-2014 in South Africa. Why do poachers treasure these rare rhinos? Their highly-valuable and expensive horns is what they’re after. Since South Africa has by far the largest population of rhinos in the world, philanthropist and Instagram star Tim Sykes and filmmaker Sam Kolder set out to Africa to see firsthand the poaching danger and imminent extinction faced by rhinos.
Tim and Sam partnered with VETPAW, an anti-poaching organization to safely and ethically de-horn rhinos, thus removing the horn that poachers treasure most. The processing of de-horning a rhino is done safely, temporarily sedating the rhino and carefully cutting it’s horns of down to a “stump.” Since a rhino horn is made of keratin, the same material as human fingernails, cutting off the horn leaves the rhino unharmed and most importantly, useless to poachers who are solely after the horn.
Illegal wildlife trafficking is one of the world’s top criminal activities, along with drugs and human trafficking. Much of rhino poaching actually funds terrorist activity, linked back to extremist groups and terrorist organizations carrying out the poaching. Tim and Sam’s mission shares with us the reality of this situation, and how they’re joining the fight to ethically de-horn rhinos to reverse the devastating effects of illegal poaching activity.