It is no way to kick off World Rhino Day. Little Bahati, from Kenya’s Tsavo National Park, had already been the victim of rhino poachers when they shot and killed his mother last year, taking her horns and orphaning the defenceless rhino calf.
Last week, the effort to raise awareness in Vietnam about the plight of the rhino was in full swing as 20 famous Vietnamese celebrities, musicians and artists took part in a two-hour, nationally broadcast show called The Call of the Wild.
As many as 35,000 African elephants are killed by poachers every year. In the last five years, the elephant population in Tanzania—historically one of the great elephant range states—has declined by more than 60 percent. To the south, nearly half of Mozambique’s elephants have disappeared, again as a result of poaching. And in Central Africa, 65 percent of forest elephants have been killed in the span of a decade.
In less than a week, two clarion calls—one from the realm of religion and the other from the seat of science—managed to fix our attention on the vulnerability of the natural world.
Update: Latest reports show the rhino horns seized in Mozambique have now gone missing. We will provide additional updates as we learn more.