You can help stop rhino poaching by making a noise about it. Let’s show the people in charge that this is something we care passionately about and we expect them to do all they can. To this end, we would urge you to a write a letter to your local Member of Parliament or regional Member of the European Parliament. We have drafted a letter below, which you could use as it is or for inspiration.
Dear [insert name of MP/MEP]
I am writing to you because we urgently need your support in Parliament, and as a public representative, to draw attention to the escalating crisis of rhino poaching inAfrica.
Pressure is needed to influence policy at the highest levels of international government in countries who turn a blind eye to the trade of rhino horn. It is essential that this trade is made internationally illegal, and communities in the East are familiarised with the consequences, and loss of life for the animals in this trade. Scientific evidence also shows that the use of rhino horn as a Traditional Chinese Medicine is ineffective. This needs to be communicated to the populations who culturally and historically have made use of rhino horn for this purpose.
I urge you to watch the following, very short video: (http://www.wildernessfoundation.co.za/forever/wild). Highlighting the senseless tragedy facing the last remaining rhinos in the wild and the obvious cruelty associated with this industry.
Since 1960, South Africa has achieved unprecedented success with the preservation of rhino, to the point that they are now home to over 90% of all rhinos in Africa. Unfortunately this conservation success also makes South Africa a prime hunting ground for those seeking rhino horns illegally. It would seem that the black market demand for rhino horn which has soared in the past few years, is largely due to economic boom in East and Southeast Asia, where the horn is used for medicinal purposes. To put the scale of this problem into perspective; in 2007 13 rhino were poached in South Africa, by 2009 the number had reached 124, in 2010 it rocketed to 335 and to date (12th October 2011) 320 rhino have been reported as poached in South Africa alone. This means there is a rhino being poached every day.
Three of the five species of rhino are ‘Critically Endangered’ as defined by the IUCN (World Conservation Union). They face an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. The Southern subspecies of the white rhino is classified by the IUCN in the lesser category of being ‘Near Threatened’; and the Indian rhino is classified as ‘Vulnerable’. Even this is considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.
Powdered rhino horn on the black market is now worth more than its weight in gold or heroin. Unfortunately rhinos exist in countries with high poverty indices, and local poachers are able to earn good money from the trade, thus forming a valuable income for some rural people. In the long run, however, they see very little of the large sums of money accessed by the traders at the top of the pyramid. The sophistication of rhino poaching grows daily, and in South Africa alone, poaching has been driven by guests in ‘private game lodges’ sending coordinates via mobile phone GPS systems to waiting teams outside the park, and helicopter poaching teams moving into areas where rhinos have been sighted. Poaching trends and the levels of sophistication in the killing of rhino, backed by enormous resources, are very alarming and require urgent intervention.
We have a duty to ensure that this magnificent animal is preserved for generations to come. Rhino are a major flagship species for biodiversity. Once they are lost there will be massive consequences. We must ensure that this does not happen.
Thank you for taking note of my concerns. I would welcome any assurances that you can give me as to what action you will be willing to take to support this request.