Banking on Extinction: Greed and its Obsession with Rhino Horn

It was one of those moments that just made me want to punch the human race.

White rhino in South Africa, WorldRhinoDay

White rhino | South Africa

I was watching a Q & A with Dereck and Beverly Joubert, world-renowned wildlife filmmakers and National Geographic artists in residence, and the topic was rhino conservation and poaching.

The sobering reality I knew was bad enough: poaching is decimating the world’s rhino population and if it’s not stopped they will become extinct in our lifetime. But what I had not considered—what I could barely fathom yet knew was true the second the Jouberts brought it to our attention—there are scumbags on this planet that are banking on extinction. People who fund poaching to stockpile rhino horn so that when the last wild rhino dies they will make a killing on the open market. Pun intended.

Mother rhino and calf in South Africa for WorldRhinoDay-

White rhino | South Africa

The Jouberts, and many others, are doing what they can to protect and save the rhino. In partnership with &Beyond, a luxury experiential travel company with 35 lodges and camps in Africa, the Jouberts, in conjunction with their foundation, Great Plains Conservation, created Rhinos Without Borders, an initiative that pledges to translocate 100 rhinos from South Africa where they are being killed at an alarming rate, and airlift them to Botswana where the laws provide greater protection. So far they’ve moved 25 rhinos, with some giving birth to calves in their new home. How great is that?

The bad news: It’s not cheap. It costs $45,000 per rhino, that’s $4.5 million when it’s all said and done.

Kankombe rhino in Namibia WorldRhinoDay

Black rhino | Namibia

Before you get overwhelmed, nobody expects one person to donate $45,000 (though if you’re a gazillionaire, I hope you’ll consider it.) Every dollar counts. On the Rhinos Without Borders site, the costs are broken down so you can see how your donation will be spent, from vet bills and implants for tracking to chartered planes and security, post release. All of it is vital to make the initiative successful.

The truth is, the fight to save rhinos is being lost. When there are hundreds of millions of dollars to be made, programs like Rhinos Without Borders have a hard time treading water against a tsunami of greed.

On this #WorldRhinoDay, consider helping the battle stay afloat.

If you’d like to help you can donate HERE.


120 replies »

  1. It sad what is hapepenig tour rhinos here in south africa, My first job after high schoolwas anti poaching and being on the frontlines in mozambique and experience this first hand broke me, im a field guide now and try bring awareness to the conservation problems here through my passion for wildife and protecting it

  2. It is so painful!! Some of the most beautiful species are on the verge of extinction thanks to our never ending and ever increasing greed … Wish people are more sensitive to fellow species …

  3. I was so shocked to read about this, a thought that never even crossed my mind before I read your article. I told my kids about this & my daughter (12) was so moved. She has just recently started selling wooden blocks with inspirational sayings on that she has designed, (money earned is going towards funds for a school trip to America next year) and she wants to donate R5 per block that she sells to this Rhino fund. Bless her. I will be helping her by adding her range of blocks (called Rox Blox) to my website soon & we will be in touch to get account details. Thank you for the article, it has inspired me & a little girl, Roxy 🙂 Regards, Kim

    • Hi Kim –
      You two are just sensational. You must be so proud of your daughter for being so kind hearted. I’m bowled over. Tell her thank you. And thank you to you as well. 🙂

  4. The human race makes me really pissed sometimes. This is a school example of human greed. Luckily there are good people as well, like those behind this project. I will donate the little amount I can and try to spread the word about this project!

  5. A one-horned rhino has died weeks after it was shot by poachers in Nepal, becoming the first of the rare animals to be killed in the country in over two years.Seems like people have been convinced about the importance of one horned rhino in my country much more than the past.

  6. Started the read angry about the problem…finished the read angrier about the problem. It’s nice to see that someone is addressing this. People like to forget about “trendy” extinctions once the media stops covering them.

  7. It is disheartening that the mighty Indian one horned Rhino is being ruthlessly slaughtered for its horn. Despite the measures by the government and the Kaziranga National park as well as the International Rhino founda tiontheir death still peaks every year. The beautiful creature is now verging its complete sweep from the subcontinent. Therefore I request the readers to please look into this matter and see what can be done to preserve this beautiful species which once thrived extensively. To know more about the Indian One horned Rhino just google it.
    The Great Indian One horned Rhinoceros Unicornis.

  8. I had made the comment but it disappeared as it does almost every time. Not sure why. I like your opening line. It remeinded me of a time I went to a bullfight. I was ashamed to be human. Not the same I know but maybe it is?

      • Your reply seems somewhat wrongly phrased and I am not sure why wildlife conservationists need to be true saints.
        There is a whole lot of difference between being a true saint and being just a conservationist. All saints can also be conservationists while the reverse need not be true. So I feel it is better for us not to drag true saints in to this irrelevant subject of Susan Portnoy’s wildlife photography.

  9. That is indeed true. Rhinos are found mainly in 3 sites of Assam, India, namely, Kaziranga, Pobitora, and Manas National Park. Sadly, this year there was a major flood in Kaziranga because of which we lost quite a few of our one horned rhinos. Poaching is huge problem in Assam too. It is wonderful to know that steps are being taken to protect this magnificent creature in Africa!

  10. It makes me sick and am grateful for your voice to raise awareness I am unable to as it is so painful! Thank you for being who u are! Purely Patricia

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  11. We need an increase of Rhinos in Kenya too, the population has decreased drastically in the current decade, I see only a handful, at Lewa downs conservancy Meru Kenya. Its a profound objective to have the welfare of these Endangered species at heart. Kudos,

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  13. Really it is disconcerting to read in order to save a Rhino you have to spend $45,000 and it is somewhat a solace that atleast in Botswana they are really safe and also breeding.Anyhow it is a good cause but at a heavy cost.Who has to bell the cat?

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