Street Creatures – June 16, 2017

Let’s be perfectly clear — rhinoceros horn does not have any magical medical properties. If it did, cancer could be cured by eating your own hair and toenails because it’s all made of the same keratin protein.

But several years ago a high-ranking Chinese official publicly announced that his cancer had been cured through the use of this folkloric treatment (his death 3 months later, of cancer, did not receive the same level of media attention) and rhinos are being slaughtered at an incredible pace using unimaginably inhumane poaching methods.

Populations of all three Asian rhino species (greater one-horned, Sumatran, and Javan) have been decimated and, as a result, African white and black rhinos are also on the verge of extinction.

Demand for horn has driven prices through the roof, capturing the attention of illegal drug cartels who are now dominating this trade. These human predators are willing to rob the world of an entire mammalian Family selling a useless “cure” to people desperate to save their loved ones lives, all for personal gain.

Consider offering your support to any of the fine organizations working to save rhinos. Consumers can and should apply pressure on countries like South Africa, Viet Nam, and China to pass laws making trade of rhino horn illegal, with serious fines and prison time for those who choose to continue this horrific practice.  [Photo: Thomas Hawk, ccl]

Street Creatures – May 26, 2017

They grow zebras large in Oakland, California, USA [photo: Thomas Hawk, ccl]

I decided to feature this image in honor of the fact that I’m in South Africa this week with students from my graduate program at Virginia Tech. In fact, we’re flying from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth today spend some time at Shamwari, a private game reserve where we’re sure to see smaller, but less urbanized, zebras.