About a hundred years ago there were close to one million rhinos living in South Africa. These days their amounts have dwindled to about 20,000 white rhinos, 4,000 black rhinos, and only three northern white rhinos The population just keeps shrinking. This inspired Dereck Joubert to start the Rhinos Without Borders project along with his wife Beverly who is a National Geographic explorer, filmmaker, and photographer.
The couple’s passion for the African wilderness led them to begin studying lions and their interactions with hyenas. At some point they were confronted with the extent of poaching and the havoc it was wrecking. They realized then that they had to go beyond filmmaking and start protecting the land where the big iconic animal species live.
They started moving the rhinos from the highest poaching areas in South Africa into the lowest poaching areas, which are in Botswana. However, catching the rhinos is no easy feat. Thankfully the team is well trained and prepared to make the transition as quick and painless as possible.
Scientists believe that the rhino has walked the earth for about fifty million years. They have the capacity to be the architects of the environment, along with other large herbivores and they are fundamental for the health of the African wilderness.
As long as the myths about the medicinal value of rhino horns persists, these beautiful animals will continue to be in danger of poaching. The horns are being sold in Vietnam, Thailand, China, and other places because people believe they have healing powers. In the year 2000 the value of rhino horns was $32 per kilogram. Today it has jumped to $108,000 per kilogram, making it more valuable than gold and even cocaine. Rhino horns are at the top of the list of top ten most precious items in the world. The sad part is that it does absolutely nothing to heal cancer, asthma or increase sex drive.
In 2007, 13 rhinos were poached in South Africa. By 2014, that number had grown to 1,215. If this continues we will lose the entire population of rhinos within the next fifteen years. Even baby rhinos are being killed because their parts are worth up to $15,000.
The fate of the rhinos lies in this generation’s hands. We have the power to either save the species or sit back and let it disappear.