The very first picture that came to my mind when I heard about the Black Rhino was seeing hundreds of them grouped together drinking water out of lakes peacefully in the parks of Africa. I was excited to learn about their habitats, history, and their population rate. As I explored deeper into the topic I found out that the Black Rhino is critically endangered. South Africa's rhino-poaching toll for 2013 surpassed the 500 mark (Marshall 5). By the end of July 2013 an astonishing 536 rhinos were killed (Marshall 5). Money is the driving force behind the extinction of the black Rhino. On the black market an eight pound horn can be sold up to $360,000. The financial gain outweighs any sort of penalties for poachers.
The goal of the heartless poachers is to shoot the Black Rhino with high powered rifles right in the middle of their foreheads. Poachers have no regard for the long term effect of killing animals. After they collapse to their chest, poaching crews strip them of the two horns on the snout and sell them to Asian buyers. On the black market, an eight pound horn can be sold for up to $360,000 (Gwin 113). The only things protecting the critically endangered Black Rhinos are groups of rangers with shotguns, but these are nothing to the heavily armed poachers ready to ambush any rangers in their way.
In China, rhino horn is used to cure many illnesses even though western scientist don't approve of these medicinal virtues. Also, the wealthy in Asia like to give rhino horn daggers to the male children as a traditional gift at puberty, and the demand for the handles exceed supply (Raloff 346). In the 1970s, more than 2000 horns were used to create handles and other purposes like powder for sale in Asia. The reason poachers keep on doing what they do is that the market for rhino horns is highly profitable. In Nepal, rhinos are one of the nation's prime tourist attractions, and the government has finally realized that (Raloff 348).