The plight of South Africa’s Rhinos mounts daily with the death toll sitting at 52 this year according to SA National Parks. Every 21 hours a rhino is poached in this country, the horn destined to the eastern markets because of an archaic belief that the fibrous horn, not so different from the protein that makes up fingernails and hair, possesses a medicinal quality that can cure anything from gout to the more publicised urban myth of erectile dysfunction.
Needless to say for such an innovative and educated part of the world I am disgusted at the level of ‘logic’ displayed by the eastern Asian countries is this matter. It’s just as absurd as our once upon a time minister of health Manto Tshabalala-Msimang's declaration that beetroot juice can cure AIDs...really now.
Ours Rhino’s are getting poached at an alarming rate, which leads one to think what is happening in the rest of Africa? If we are struggling to contain it then I don’t have much hope for our neighbours fairing any better.
Foreigners to our shores may not quite understand the connection we as South Africans (or any Africans) have in general to our wildlife and natural world. It not just simply going for a walk or drive into a pretty farmland meadow somewhere that is uniform all across Europe. It is so much more. The dust in the air, smell of the bush, the heat and of course our wildlife all provide a kind of spirituality that can’t be explained.
So when these people start coming into our land and destroying what we hold as 'sacred' you would be forgiven for thinking we might just get a little edgy and start to profiling the culprits..it’s not hard we know where the horns are going.
I don’t doubt its locals carrying out the grizzly work, there's big bucks in this and for a population that in general is pretty bad off, hacking a few animals to death for a payday might seem ok. But it’s their backers that I am more interested uncovering and subjecting to the same treatment.
So where to now, once the last Rhino is killed (which I am sad to say could very well be in our lifetime). What other ridiculous 'tradition' will come out from the East? Maybe lions claws helping erections.....no more lions, then elephant's etc etc when will it end?