Dollars Rule and Rhinos Face Extinction

The all mighty dollar is responsible for some of the worst destruction the world has ever known. The dollar, unlike the natural disasters which do not discriminate directly based on who has money and who does not, makes swift decisions on who lives and who dies, what architecture is worth saving and what gets destroyed.

If it wasn’t for celebrity adoption, after all, many people wouldn’t have even heard of some of the countries from which babies are being adopted — Namibia, anyone? The people of Haiti count themselves fortunate that the dollar came to rebuild, while anyone visiting New Orleans can see where the dollars flow and where they do not.

The lives of animals and the survival of rare species is all in the balance and in peril because of dollars and cents — and to me it does not make so much sense. The majestic rhinoceros, for example, is in grave danger because of the high cost that is still associated with a genuine rhino horn.

The street value of rhinoceros horns has soared to about $65,000 a kilogram (2.2 pounds), making it more expensive than gold, platinum and in many cases cocaine, as a belief — with no basis in science — has taken hold in recent years in parts of Asia that ingesting it can cure or prevent cancer.

To me this is even more disturbing than if the horns were being used for a more so-called legitimate use, for example, a walking cane or a drinking cup. There is not a single drop of science involved with ingesting rhino horn. Not only does not not prevent or cure cancer, it causes death one hundred percent of the time — to the rhinoceros that must be slaughtered in order to get the horn.

My father always told me that things are worth only what people are willing to pay for them. If we have any interest in preventing the further extinction of the various species of Rhinoceros, it is critical that we spread the word that there is no medicinal value in the horn of the rhino and that people need to look elsewhere to less crazy cures in order to preserve life while saving their own.

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