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Rhinos in Botswana

"You must be totally quiet", Sam Mushandu, the guide said, in order to walk down the trail to see these incredible creatures. And there in the clearing was a small group of rhinos grazing, a most magical sight.

Unfortunately, the rhino population has been decimated by hunters and poachers who kill them and sell their "horns". There are only 25,000 white rhinos left, down from 750,000 in 1900. Who is behind the surge in rhino poaching? If you guess China, you are wrong. It is Vietnam, where the demand was fueled by a rumor that rhino horn had cured cancer in a politician six years ago. And with a single horn fetching as much as $300,000, the risk of being caught probably seems to many poachers to be one worth running.

The good news is that slowly, and successfully, rhinos are being reintroduced into private sections of Chobe National Park in Botswana.

The park rangers keep track and guard the rhinos with heavy arms, ready to kill poachers who are also armed. I thanked the ranger for his important work, and he allowed me to take a picture with him.

Park ranger guarding rhinos in Botswana. Photo by Sam Mushandu, guide.

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Susan Rouillier
Bird Photographer and Painter

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