The Price of Greed

It’s difficult to watch, I’ll admit that. But it’s also necessary. People need to understand in the starkest terms what is taking place day in and day out in the name of greed. On average two rhinos are poached on a daily basis just in South Africa alone to feed a greed that is worth, ounce-for-ounce, more than gold but has zero medicinal value. Z-E-R-O. The IUCN estimates that there are approximately 25,000 wild rhinos left in Africa (5,000 Black Rhinoceros, 20,000 White). In South Africa, 333 rhinos were poached in 2010, 448 in 2011, 668 in 2012, and 273 as of April 30th, 2013. At this rate, over 800 rhinos will be killed for their horns this year just in South Africa.

Pause for a moment to consider what’s in that number.

It’s not hard to do the math and understand how sobering and dire the situation is; and not only with rhinos, but with many of Africa’s iconic species. Its face hacked off while still alive and conscious, left to die a slow and immeasurably painful death. So while I apologize for the graphic nature of the video, which in twenty-four seconds describes only too well the brutal reality that is being inflicted on these animals every day, I do not apologize for sharing it and imploring people to understand what exactly is taking place, why, and to what end.

We need to understand what is happening here. We need to understand the part we play, even as passive witnesses (especially as passive witnesses), and we need to make a difference. Because extinction means forever. And for what? Some rhino horn powder that has no medicinal value? Some tiger or lion bones that similarly have no medicinal value? Some artwork carved from the tusks of elephants to feed a growing Asian middle class with disposable income? Is the extinction of these species to feed our ever-growing greed worth the price paid? To what end?

When the buying stops, the killing can too.

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