Image courtesy of macinate on Flickr

According to a recent news article by the World Wildlife Fund, a conservation organization, fewer than 5,000 rhinos exist on our planet. Reports show that 455 rhinos have been killed in the past year due to poaching. This is an all time record.

In this day and age, people are killing rhinos for their horns? Yes. Though the iPhone may be the most sought after possession in the U.S., there are parts of the world with markets for animal parts. I’m talking, fur, tusks, horns, ivory, hide, etc.

Why the rhinos? A false rumor has been spreading that rhino horns can treat the common hangover or even terminal illness. Some countries use rhino horn to treat fever, high blood pressure, and other medicinal purposes. And, as I recall from my human sexuality course in college (I knew this knowledge would come in handy!), some people believe ground up rhino horn can have aphrodisiac prosperities.

So what has been done about this rapid increase in rhino poaching? The World Wildlife Fund is trying to get governments that are involved in the illegal trading of animal parts to help enforce these laws. They are pushing for these governments to impose strong deterrents and to raise awareness of the effects purchasing animal products has on wildlife.