Rhino horn is an extremely rare luxury item. Unfortunately, the only way to obtain it is through the killing or mutilation of the gentle and endangered creatures. In most cases, the injured animal is left for dead and dies due to her injuries. Luckily for one rhino, Saving the Survivors was there when she needed them most.
Saving the Survivors is a group project focusing on ensuring that endangered rhinos have a future.
"Project SAVE THE SURVIVORS was specifically started in 2012 to care and look after rhino that has fallen victim to poaching or traumatic incidents. This includes rhinos that have been wounded, rhinos where the horn has been hacked off, and victims of snaring and traumatic incidents. Rhino survivors are estimated at between 80 and 120 animals per year that will benefit from this project. This number will increase as the amount of poached rhinos increase."This year has been bad for the rhinos. Already several rhinos in the Eastern Cape of South Africa have lost their lives to poachers. One heifer, pictured above, was missing for days before she was finally found. Her face had been badly damaged where the poachers hacked off both of her horns. She sinus cavities were exposed, and she had fracture to the facial bones. She was left for dead.
The images of her un-bandaged head are gruesome. The image will not be posted in this article due to its graphic nature. However, you can see the photos on Saving the Survivors's Facebook page.
Rhino horns are sought after due to their exoticism and the way they look when they have been carved. Collectors like to have a rare ornament on display. In some countries, it is also believed that rhino horn can cure poisoning and have other healing powers. Vietnam is the largest buyer of black market rhino horn.
Many are willing to pay for the rare treat. Rhino horn can cost up to $100,000 per kilogram. Or some hunter take matters into their own hands and pay to kill the animal themselves.
For rhinos, the poaching has devastating and last effects. Rhino numbers are already low in the wild and poaching ensures that the number drops every year.
That's why Saving the Survivors is an important asset. And for one rhino -- who was later named Hope -- STS means life.
She is up and walking around. She drinks and eats without a problem.
Veterinarians bandaged her face as best they could, giving her a hard cast to cover the holes in her face. Pain medication was administered and it seems to be doing the job. STS has been updating their Facebook periodically, and Hope is getting better.
She is eating and foot prints around the water trough shows she has been drinking as well. She has been showing signs of depression, not surprising as she has endured such a traumatic event.
Horrific and purposeful injuries to animals is torture. You can support Save The Survivors in their goal to help injured rhinos via their donation page.
Do you agree with poaching rhinos for their horns?
[Images via Facebook]