Poaching is a real problem in Africa. There are many endangered species that are hunted for specific parts of their bodies – like tusks or horns – and then left to die. Game reserve rangers do their best to patrol the grounds and protect the animals, but sometimes, they need a little help. That’s exactly what they got when a group of rhino poachers was attacked and killed by a pack of lions. (1)
Rhino Poachers Killed By Lions
Late one Sunday night in 2018, three rhino poachers snuck onto the Sibuya game reserve in South Africa. They were searching for the big animal’s horns to sell in Asia, where some believe the horns have medicinal properties. This, of course, is not true: A rhino’s horn consists of the same material as our very own fingernails. (1)
Their mission was thwarted, however, when they accidentally bumped into a pride of lions. The lions showed these unfriendly visitors no mercy, leaving only a few limbs, shoes, and horn-cutting gear behind. (1)
Rangers didn’t discover the scene until the following Tuesday afternoon. They tranquilized some of the lions in order to survey the remains. They know there were at least three rhino poachers because they found three pairs of shoes. (1)
The police continued to patrol the area if any poachers had escaped, though based on the fate of the three recovered at the scene, this was unlikely. (1)
Rhino Poaching In Africa
Rhino poaching in Africa has long been a problem affecting the rhino population. Encouragingly, according to the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), in 2019, poaching was declining. This was all thanks to efforts by governments, communities, non-profit organizations, and other helpers. (2) There is a glimmer as 2020 was actually the first time in 21 years that no Rhinos have been poached in Kenya. A small battle won.
Unfortunately, the rhino population is still very much under threat. Between organized crime syndicates and the shrinking size of land available for them to live on, we must keep working to save this important species. (2)
“Law enforcement efforts alone cannot address the complex social and economic drivers behind the long-term threats to our rhinos,” said Dr. Jo Shaw, senior manager of the wildlife program at WWF-South Africa. “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.” (2)
One of their biggest problems is the desire for rhino horn in Vietnam and China. (1) Education is a must to make people understand that rhino horn has no special or “magical” properties. If there is no more market for the horns, then the poaching will stop.