There are very few things that compare to the feeling one gets when looking straight into the eyes of a male lion. Although I knew he wasn’t able to see my eyes looking at him from behind my camera, by the way he looked at me, it felt like he was staring straight into my soul. I felt unsettled and content at the same time. It felt like forever but it only lasted a few seconds at most.
A pair of dung beetles pushing a ball of rhino dung. After they find a safe place to bury the ball they’ll mate and then the female will prepare the brood ball in which she’ll lay a single egg. The male goes on to find more dung from which he’ll create another ball in the hopes of being selected by another female. Males that create the biggest balls are in highest demand:)
Sadly in recent years rhino poaching which has always been a pretty serious problem has become an incredibly serious issue in southern and other parts of Africa. This year already more than 56 rhino have been poached in South Africa alone. Behind the crime wave is a surge in demand from the far east and European Asian communities for powdered rhino horn, which is used in traditional Chinese medicines. It is valued as a remedy for everything from fevers and headaches to cancer, with one of the more popular and well known reasons for its demand being the belief that it can be used as an effective aphrodisiac. The demand for the horn is so intense it has pushed its value to £60,000 per kilogram – twice the value of gold.
So is there any actual scientific evidence to the medicinal powers of rhino horns? Not really. From a 2008 Nature article:
In 1990, researchers at Chinese University in Hong Kong found that large doses of rhino horn extract could slightly lower fever in rats (as could extracts from Saiga antelope and water buffalo horn), but the concentration of horn given by a traditional Chinese medicine specialist are many many times lower than used in those experiments. In short, says Amin, you’d do just as well chewing on your fingernails.