The rhino is being hunted into extinction and could disappear forever unless we act now. Shocking new statistics show more than 440 rhinos were brutally killed last year in South Africa alone – a massive increase on five years ago when just 13 had their horns hacked off. In the coming days EU environment ministers will consider bold new actions to save these amazing creatures but they need to hear from us first!
Fuelling this devastation is a huge spike in demand for rhino horns used for bogus cancer cures, hangover remedies and good luck charms in China and Vietnam. Protests from South Africa and around the world are being mostly ignored by the authorities. But the European Union could change this when they meet to discuss their position ahead of a crucial international summit in July to save species such as the rhino.
Zoos now also at risk
The situation is so dire that the threat has even spread into British zoos who are on red-alert for rhino killing gangs now hunting for them in Europe! The EU has the power to persuade the convention that governs trade in wildlife to increase the protection of these endangered animals by banning all types of rhino trade into China and Vietnam. Let’s help Avaaz raise a giant roar for rhinos and urge Europe to lead and push for new protections to save them from extinction. We have two weeks left until the EU will consider what action to take – sign the petition below and forward this widely. Avaaz will deliver it to the Chair of the EU group working to protect these animals.
One rhino was killed every day in South Africa this January, home to 80% of the world’s remaining rhinos. Horns now have a street value of over $65,000 a kilo – more expensive than gold or platinum. The South African Environment Minister has pledged to take action by putting 150 extra wardens and even an electric fence along the Mozambique border to try and stem the attacks – but the scale of the threat is so severe that global action is required.
Almost out of time
Unless we act today we may lose this magnificent and ancient species permanently. Some Chinese entrepreneurs are lobbying for the trade in horn to be relaxed and South Africa is under pressure to allow their private game park owners to see live rhinos to South Africa. This will just fuel the animals demise. With the EU’s leadership, we can demand that any legal sale of rhino horn is put on hold until poaching levels drop to what they were five years ago, push for public awareness programmes in key Asian countries and the poachers are put in prison, ending this horn horror show for good.
The EU leadership on rhinos could signal when we begin to turn the tide back in the rhinos’ favour. It could help set the world’s policy for the next big global meeting in just a few months – our best chance of stopping the slaughter. We know that rhinos will be on their agenda, but only our pressure can ensure they challenge the problem at the source.
In 2010, Avaaz’s actions helped to stop the elephant ivory trade from exploding. Let’s help them do the same this year. If we speak out together, we can change the world and stop this madness. Last year was the worst year ever for the rhino, but this year we can turn that around.