Welcome to the first ever entry in the Rhino Diaries!
Our names our Thelma and Louise. Our interests include hay, back scratches, and long walks. We should probably mention that we are also rhinos, more specifically white rhinos. We live at Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon, MA. We thoroughly enjoy life at the zoo; we get all the hay and grain we could want, attention from zoo staff and visitors, plus we don’t have to worry about poachers brutally killing us for our horns.
Unfortunately, we didn’t always have it so easy.
We were both about 3 years old when we came to Southwick’s Zoo in October of 2011. We had previously lived on a wildlife preserve in South Africa. This may sound like the ideal place for a rhino, but we assure you that we were very much in danger there. Rhino poaching has increased dramatically over the past few years, and even rhinos on preserves are not safe.
13 rhinos in South Africa were murdered in 2007, and at least 1,200 were poached in 2014. That’s a 9,000% increase. Nope, that’s not a typo, and 749 rhinos have already been killed in 2015. Poaching is a very serious crisis, and it’s believed that rhinos may become extinct in the wild by the year 2025.
Do you know why rhinos are being hunted in such extreme numbers? There is a very high demand for our horns on the illegal black market because some people believe that rhino horns have medicinal properties and can cure a range of ailments including fevers, hangovers, and even cancer. However, there is actually no scientific evidence that our horns have medicinal value. Our horns are actually made out of the same protein, called keratin, that your hair and nails are made from. Ingesting rhino horn essentially has the same benefits as chewing your fingernails…
Our plan is to use this blog to educate people about rhinos, and to explain why conservation efforts are so important. Rhinos, along with many other species, are at risk of being lost forever if we don’t take action! We have plenty to say on the topic, so we’ll be posting again soon!
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