Rhino Horns: Turning Fiction into Fact

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I found out an extremely important fact today about rhino horns. But before I get to it, let’s look at some interesting rhino facts to get to know this species and appreciate it. And then look at why it is being hunted to the brink of extinction…

The name rhinoceros comes from the Greek words rhino, which means nose, and ceros, which means horn. Rhinos look very prehistoric to me. That makes sense since they have been around for over 50 million years! There are five species of rhinos. Two live in Africa (white and black rhinos – they are both actually grey) and three live in South-Asia (Javan, Sumatran, and Greater one-horned rhinos). Rhinos are big. The white rhino is the largest mammal on land after the elephant. It can weigh over 7700 lbs! As large as they are, they are herbivores. Another cool fact: The oxpecker is a bird that helps the rhino by eating bugs on its skin. And the oxpecker will call out to the rhino when danger is approaching. Fascinating! Oh, and if you save an orphan rhino, it can be quite cuddly!

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The black, Javan, and Sumatran rhinos are all listed as critically endangered (50% chance of becoming extinct in three generations). The Javan rhino is the world’s rarest land mammal. There are less 50 left! The rhino is being hunted for its splendid horn. It suffers an agonizing death – it is shot, its horn is sliced off, and then it is left to bleed to death… Increasing markets in China and Vietnam are driving the demand. The horn is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat things such as fever, headaches, and terminal illnesses. It is also used for trivial things such as hangovers and aphrodisiacs. And owning a horn is seen as a status symbol.

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So here is the extremely important fact that I found out today: Rhino horns are made of keratin – the same substance that make up our fingernails and hair. So it is no more a medicinal remedy than our own nails and hair. That’s right, it has NEVER been proven that the horn has any medicinal properties at all. So why kill a magnificent endangered animal for NO reason? (There will never be a good reason in my mind.) It is time to turn the tide on these dangerously lethal and misinformed cultural traditions.

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How can you help? Keep spreading the word! And see my “Be a Hero! Take Action!” tips in my website’s sidebar. And you can help via these two organizations dedicated to saving the world’s rhinos: savetherhino.org and wildaid.org. Together, let’s protect our rhinos – now.

 

(Sources: savetherhino.org; livescience.com; wildaid.org)

Can You Imagine a World Without Tigers?

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Tigers. Everyone loves this gorgeous and iconic animal. We pin up photos of them. We add them to company logos. We include them in sports team names. Our beloved house cats come from the same gene pool. It is my Chinese horoscope’s symbol! Why on Earth is it classified as endangered then? Today, due to poaching and habitat loss, we have lost a whopping 97% of tigers in just over 100 years. Please read that fact again as it is seriously mind boggling. In the early 1900s, there were approximately 100 000 tigers. Today, there are as little as 3200 left. How long can the tiger survive at such a low population? The status of “endangered” has a great risk of changing to status of “extinct.” Tigers extinct? That’s beyond absurd. But did you know that tigers have subspecies? Some of the subspecies are either extinct in the wild or fully extinct. That’s right. Some of the tigers’ subspecies have already been wiped off the face of our planet forever due to human actions. That scary fact means that it actually is not impossible that the tiger species as a whole is at risk of going extinct. Is that acceptable to you? It is absolutely NOT acceptable to me.

There are reasons that seem beyond our control of why tigers are in peril due to habitat loss and poaching. They include agriculture, logging, growing populations, greed, corruption, and misguided cultural beliefs that tiger parts can heal people. Even if that were true, killing endangered species for traditional medicine is unethical and unacceptable. Period. What we can control from afar is educating ourselves and then educating others. Donating to or volunteering with organizations that help to save tigers. Signing petitions. Writing blog articles. Starting your own club or organization. Please do at least one thing to help save one of the world’s most magnificent animals. An animal that has the right to live among us where its very first ancestor appeared on our beautiful planet 2 million years ago. Together, let’s protect our tigers – now.

Racing Extinction

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I saw the documentary Racing Extinction. It had a profound effect on me and prompted me to create this blog site – hence my main image from the film. It is a loud red siren that we are currently in the world’s 6th mass extinction phase – all human-caused. We have lost half of our wildlife in the past 40 years and we are at risk of losing 50% of current species by 2050. Human poaching, land loss, and climate change are the major culprits. We can ALL help to change this course but the time to act is NOW, not tomorrow. We MUST spread the word. The movie said one big way we can all help to curb climate change is by cutting out or reducing the amount of meat we eat. (I personally have been a vegetarian for about 20 years now.) That’s right – cow production is one of the top culprits causing climate change – worse than transportation. That is because methane is much more powerful than carbon dioxide. Cows release a lot of methane. And the amount of land burned and cleared for cow production is releasing carbon dioxide and killing our precious and irreplaceable rainforests. It is simply and vastly unsustainable. Please watch this imperative film and then spread the imperative word. Together, let’s protect our endangered species – now.

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” – Albert Einstein

Rockin’ for the Love of Elephants

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Slash, the legendary guitarist from Guns N’ Roses never ceases to amaze me. Aside from playing the electric guitar like no one else on the planet, he is also an IFAW spokesperson speaking out against the ivory trade. He wrote a song called “Beneath the Savage Sun” from an elephant’s perspective. This video, which features the song, is a must watch despite its gut-wrenching clips. The barbaric slaughter of these majestic, caring, family-oriented, wise, and peaceful elephants for jewellery, trinkets, and musical instruments is beyond a disgrace. IFAW says that on average, an elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its tusks. MIND BLOWING. We need to BAN together to BAN the ivory trade – before it’s too late. Together, let’s protect our elephants – now.

Ontario’s Spring Bear Hunt

Why do humans often take three steps back after taking two steps forward?

IFAW says, “Two years ago, the Government of Ontario announced it would re-launch the spring bear hunt as a pilot project. Now, they’re proposing to expand the spring bear hunt to all of Ontario, and open it to hunters from outside the province.” The article went on to explain that the government’s reason for the hunt is to decrease human-bear conflict. The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s annual report is said to be skeptical of this. We absolutely do not need a spring bear hunt. Why is killing always the answer for humans? We share this planet. It is not ours alone. IFAW says spring bear hunting does not reduce human-bear conflict. What it will do is leave more bear cubs orphaned. And it may also set back the positive steps Ontario municipalities have taken under the Bear Wise program.

As per IFAW’s request, I posted a comment on the Ontario Environmental Registry at http://bit.ly/1SjJMeV

Please take a moment to tell the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to not proceed with the spring bear hunt.

Here’s a petition you can sign as well.

Together, let’s protect our bears – now.