Poaching is among the biggest issues in Africa.
Even though game reserve rangers are dedicated to protecting the animals there, they fail to combat the issue as numerous poachers are hunting them. Animals are poached for specific parts of their bodies, like their horns and tusks.
Nevertheless, Nature has its own rules and protectors, and oftentimes, wildlife manages to protect itself on its own.
This is exactly what happened when a pack of lions attacked and killed a team of rhino poachers.
Back in 2018, on a late Sunday night, a group of three rhino poachers entered the Sibuya game reserve in South Africa, searching for the big animal’s horns.
Their goal was to sell them in Asia, where some believe the horns have medicinal properties.
This is untrue, of course, as a horn of a rhino consists of the same material as our very own fingernails.
The mission of the poachers was thwarted, however, as they encountered a pride of hungry lions, who mercilessly attacked them, and left only a few limbs, shoes, and horn-cutting gear behind.
It was only on the following Thursday afternoon when rangers discovered the scene.
To survey the remains, they tranquilized some of the lions, and realized there were at least three rhino poachers as they found three pairs of shoes.
Even though it was unlikely, the police patrolled the area, searching for any escaped poacher.
Authorities then used the sad fate of the poachers as an opportunity to warn others of the dangers of poaching.
Rhinos have long been targeted by poachers. Fortunately, back in 2019, the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), stated that this malpractice is on the decline.
The main factors for the decreased poaching included the efforts by governments, communities, non-profit organizations, and other helpers.
Last year was the first time in 21 years that no Rhinos have been poached in Kenya. A small battle won.
For the first time in twenty-one years, KWS made headway in the fight against poaching! In-spite of the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, we reported zero rhino poaching in 2020!#WildlifeKe
Photo Credit: Alissa
📍Nairobi National Park pic.twitter.com/AsmNOP0QpB
— KWS (@kwskenya) February 8, 2021
Sadly, the threat to the rhino population still exists.
Between organized crime syndicates and the shrinking size of land available for them to live on, we need to continue the efforts to save this important species.
Dr. Jo Shaw, senior manager of the wildlife program at WWF-South Africa, said:
“Law enforcement efforts alone cannot address the complex social and economic drivers behind the long-term threats to our rhinos. What is required is a commitment to a holistic approach which considers the attitudes, opportunities, and safety of people living around protected areas. The role of corruption, inevitably associated with organized crime syndicates, must also be addressed.”
One of the main issues is the demand for rhino horns in China and Vietnam. Therefore, people need to be educated that a rhino horn has no special or “magical” properties.
The poaching will stop as soon as there is no more market for the horns.