Namibia: guarding the last rhino paradise

The miserable world of rhinos

  That day, we walked into the red desert of Namibia. This desert covered a wetland with green shrubs, green bushman grass, and moon-like pools.
  We were shocked, this oasis was as untrustworthy as a mirage.
  The owner Ji told us that this wetland is called a goat farm, which is their family’s farm.
  At this time, a lot of animals appeared on the roadside, springbok, right-horned antelope, crooked antelope, deer, and a group of fashion model-like zebras. When these guys saw us, they got up and ran away, and a few panicked. Lost, actually passed through in front of our car. When they passed by, like a passing wind, they brought up a mass of red sand. We asked Ji if the game we ate came from this group. Ji said yes. When we listened, a penitent expression appeared on our faces. Ji relieved us. He said that this wetland is very precious, and the number of herbivores cannot be too many. Too many will grab water and grassland with rhinos. Rhinoceros is the largest odd-hoofed animal and a large terrestrial animal second only to elephant in size. It appeared 55 million years ago and has 5 species distributed in Asia and Africa. But because of people frantically stealing rhino horns, rhinos are now on the verge of extinction. The few remaining rhinos are concentrated in southern Africa.
  ”Rhino? Is there a rhino here?” we asked in surprise.
  ”Yes, this goat farm was actually called the Rhino Farm, but it was later changed to the goat farm. I was afraid that someone would know to steal the rhino.” Ji said.
  ”Oh, I see, so I can’t take pictures,” we said.
  ”Yes, thank you.” Ji said regretfully.
  We calmed down and searched for the rhinoceros.
  We saw rhinos, a group of black and black, they are marching on the sand, the team is mighty, kicking up the dust as they walk, like a heavy force on the front line. Our car slowly leaned up and gradually merged into the rhino. They continued to walk, only a small part of them stopped and looked up at us. Their heads are rectangular, their foreheads are very thick, and they have a pair of delicate black eyes, shaped like buffalo eyes, double eyelids, and curled eyelashes. Their mouths are not delicate, square, like a bucket for measuring rice, they should be good at eating. There are two horns in the center of their faces, one long and one short, arranged up and down, uplifting, seeming to blow the charge at any time. They are similar in figure to elephants, with shorter legs, more wrinkles on the skin, and vertical and horizontal muscles.
  Ji said that these are white rhinos. They are very gregarious. They like to be in groups. They are relatively timid, and will run away collectively in danger, making it difficult for thieves to start. The white rhinoceros is the smartest and latest species of the existing rhino. But black rhinos are different, they are alone and not gregarious, and it is easy for thieves to succeed. But they have a strong personality and fight to the death with thieves, often with tragic results. As Ji said, he took out two pictures. In one picture, the black rhino had its entire head cut off. Broken bones and minced meat could be seen, and the blood that flowed down became a small pool. In another picture, the black rhino has its horns cut off, and a waterfall of blood hangs on its cheeks, but its eyes are still open, looking at the world in confusion and pain.
  ”Oh, it’s too miserable!” Everyone couldn’t help but sigh.
  ”They also kill. My uncle was hacked to death by them.” Ji said.
  ”For the rhino horn?” we exclaimed.
  ”Yes, rhino horns are very valuable. One horn can be sold for tens of thousands of dollars.”
  Ji told us that in order to make the rhinoceros look worthless and not be hacked to death, they often perform operations on rhinos and remove their heads in advance or Fight medicine on the head corner. “Look carefully, all rhinos without horns have been operated on.”
  We were dumbfounded. But fortunately, there are a group of such people who are making efforts to protect animals.
  At this moment, a rhino came up ahead with a small bell on its ear. Ji said that this “girl” was called “Sunshine” and had an artificial insemination a few days ago. If Sunshine becomes pregnant, she will have a baby after 21 months. “21 months!” we yelled, seeming to think it was too slow, “21 months, a person can give birth to two.” We said. Ji smiled and said that it is easy for people to get pregnant, but it is difficult for the sun. The egg retrieval channel is 1.5 meters long.
  ”You don’t have male rhinos?”
  ”Rarely, don’t dare to raise them. The horns of male rhinos are precious and the main target of thieves.” Ji’s eyes revealed a hint of helplessness.
  Once, we stopped among a group of rhinos and watched them up close. The rhinos didn’t seem to mind, some of them were walking, some were eating grass, and some were sleeping under the small trees. He sleeps like a human being, leaning on his side, hooves, and buttocks pouted, with his head resting on the soft sand, sleeping soundly, as if the sky is falling and no matter what. Ji pointed out to us, which are bulls, which are cows, which are white rhinos, and which are black rhinos. We found that the black rhino is not black. Like the white rhino, it is also slightly off-white, but it is smaller than the white rhino and has beautiful horns. Standing there thinking independently, it looks like a widow.
No profit leads to no extinction

  When we walked out of the goat farm wetland, we saw a small village with a dozen small wooden buildings, all of which were blond white people coming in and out. Flower baskets are hung on the wooden floor, the Virgin is painted on the walls, the chimney is on the roof, and there is a small church in the middle of the village. The snow-white Gothic building is topped with a small pointed bell tower.
  As we approached the village, a few villagers greeted us.
  Ji said that his ancestors discovered this wetland a long time ago and led his family to live there. They never left. They raised rhinos here and lived in seclusion. His father is the current owner of the village. Some of the villagers we saw were his relatives, some were workers, and some were militiamen protecting the wetlands.
  ”Gee, do you live on rhinos?” I asked.
  ”Yes, we sell small rhinoceros and rhino horns to the zoo,” Ji said.
  ”Rhino raising costs a lot of money, right?” I asked.
  ”Yes, workers’ wages, veterinary fees, and sometimes we have to hire soldiers and helicopters, and ask them to help us patrol.” Ji said, “Even so, rhinos are killed every year. Those people also have troops and helicopters. Weapons, we can’t guard them.”
  ”Does the government care?” we asked angrily.
  Ji said that the government managed it, but it had no effect. They banned the sale of horns, and the black market price of horns went up, and the number of people who killed rhinos increased unabated. They lifted the ban and killed more rhinos. Some people smuggle horns to Asia, where there are many rich people. In 2018 alone, more than 1,000 rhinos were killed in South Africa and Namibia.
  We opened our mouths, not knowing what to say, but looked at the rhinos sympathetically.
  In some countries, rhino horn is made into traditional medicine. However, the chemical composition of buffalo horn is the same as rhino horn and has the same curative effect.
  The craft of rhino horn comes at the cost of the demise of the rhino. Therefore, when you watch a beautiful rhino horn wine glass, what you are in front of is not a work of art, but a bloody physical evidence. Your behavior is to encourage slaughter. Please reject all crafts made of rhino horn.
  Ji told us that September 22 was the Rhino Festival, and I wrote it down in my notebook. In that day, I will think about rhinos.