Miguel del Pino: Rhino killings for their horns

In these moments there are five species of rhinos in the world, but don’t know how many months we can continue to make this claim because three of them are at imminent risk of extinction and some subspecies have already become extinct recently.

The lack of predators in nature, I never would have put in danger the rhinos had not crossed her path the species potentially most dangerous, that is to say, the man. No practical product that can provide the great pachyderm, but the superstition and absurdity are allied to decimate their populations, especially african.

Since medieval times are attributed to the horn of the rhinoceros magical properties related to the course to increase the virility that happens to those who consume this appendix nasal in the form of dust obtained from the crushing; if this outside little, in countries such as Yemen give to the boys when they outgrow adolescence a knife whose handle is formed by a rhino horn. All an exaltation of the absurd.

A jewel zoological

The rhino is one of the mammals most interesting from the point of view of the zoo, both for its uniqueness and morphological, among which are the horns and nasals, as for its evolutionary success achieved through the gigantism and the aggressively defensive. It is not uncommon to find rhino indians that exceed 1,500 pounds, and the smaller species, as the rhinoceros of Java, they tend to reach 500. Only the big cats such as lions or tigers, according to the geographical locations, can you try with a remote possibility of success capturing some recentales.

All rhinos are herbivores, although they occupy different ecological niches; the asians are primarily grazers of leaves and branches as black african, while the large white rhinoceros, is also a member of the fauna of Africa pasta herb as you would a cow. Such specialisation avoids competition among the species present that share territories, such as some african populations of “rinos” black and white.

The precious powdered rhino horn by the that are paid fortunes in the markets of the far east to form part of the prescriptions of the so-called “chinese medicine” is nothing more than keratin, which is the hardest of the proteins of vertebrates, but in spite of its great hardness is not more than that, keratin, as that forms hair, nails, feathers and scales of vertebrates.

An unstoppable decline

In the mid-NINETEENTH century was estimated at a million animals, the population of rhinos in the african continent, including in this figure the two species black and white with their corresponding subspecies. At the present time survive for only a few thousand copies. In the sanctuaries and wild of Kenya were posted in the past year 1.258, divided between 745 black and a little more than 500 whites.

Although the story is fairly well known let us remember that, being the white and the black of a color that is very similar, greyish dark, the appellation of “white” stems from a confusion when interpreting the description manual of the kind in which you are called “wide”, for the breadth of its muzzle. The similarity between these terms in the English language, gave origin to the legend.

Some zoos have succeeded in the captive breeding of the breeds that are more endangered than rhino, attempting after its introduction into Africa in hopes that the climatic circumstances and environmental conducive to the breeding in freedom. Up to now has not achieved such success.

The past month of July has died in Kenya, the last male of the nominate subspecies of the black rhino in the North, an old copy called Sudan, who have taken genetic samples to try to the assisted reproduction with the only two females that will survive. One more example to add to the long list of species, in this case sub-species, missing in the last two centuries.

For a novel of terror

We were talking about in the holder of assassinations, and not a rhino, but of people. Although it has not been reported too much the activities of the mafias that traffic with rhino horn, seems to have come to perpetrate thefts in several museums and that in order to achieve their ends using any violent means. The police in some european countries investigates on some cases related to this criminal commerce.

What is certain is that the majority of museums that have specimens of rhinoceros dissected, some of antiquity of the nineteenth century, is opting to cut the horns of the same and confine them in their safety deposit boxes, restoring the look of the exposed through the replacement of the natural by the horns fiber glass perfectly naturalized.

To keep the measures of surveillance, in the hopes that the common sense and the extension of scientific culture to the countries that retain hoaxes like the legend of rhino horns, manage to avoid that these lies continue to claim human lives; lives of both the native hunters, struck down without mercy by the guards of the reserves, as of the depositories of the specimens, naturalized,

Leave moment to the topic as a suggestion to the creators of screenplays or stories of their adventures, although certainly none will surpass the brilliant novel “In search of the unicorn”, by Juan Eslava Galán on the real commission, a group of hunters was centuries ago, get the precious horn in the heart of the african continent. The imaginary adventurers eventually won his treasure, and the brilliant author sevillano of the Planeta Prize.

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