A heavily pregnant rhino and her young calf were shot dead by heartless poachers in a South African National Park on Wednesday. Heartbreaking photos of the unborn calf, the mother and the sibling were posted on the Facebook page of the Pilanesberg National Park Wildlife Trust in Mogwase.
The disturbing photos showed the poachers had started to hack off the mother’s horn, but the murderers fled when interrupted by park rangers before they completed their despicable task. Tragically when the staff arrived, even though they tried to save the unborn calf, it had died inside of its mother’s womb.
“Mom and calf shot and killed by poachers. Horns are still on as the murderers fled the scene when they heard a game drive approach. Mom looks very pregnant as well. We are devastated,” the group posted.
According to the Daily Mail, the mother rhino was eight-years-old and her calf just two-years of age. The unborn calf was due to be born in February. The problem of poachers is so profound that a spokesperson reported 17 rhinos and three unborn calves were killed in 2017 alone. In the last ten years, more than 6,000 rhinos have been shot and butchered in South Africa for their horns. At times the rhinos are shot and killed, but there continues despicable reports of poachers using tranquilizer guns to bring down the animals and then hacking off the horn – leaving the animal to wake up and painfully and slowly bleed to death.
So what’s the big deal about rhino horns? China, Vietnam, South Korean, India and Malaysia believe the horns have medicinal value able to cure anything from sexual impotence to curing cancer. There has been no evidence to support any of the claims. The horns of a rhino are made from keratin – the same as our fingernails, horses’ hooves and bird and turtle beaks, Somehow the cultural Asian traditions have not waned – now leaving less that 20,000 white rhino left in their natural habitats.
The payoff is why this egregious slaughter continues. A kilo of rhino horn can bring in $30,000 – valued at this time at more than a kilo of gold.
Rest in peace wild animals. We are so sorry that man is so greedy and cruel.
(Photos and video courtesy of Pilanesberg National Park and Wildlife Trust)
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