As of 22nd January 2015, 49 rhino have already been poached in South Africa. Their deaths come from the demand for their horn, which is considered medicinally and socially precious by certain countries in the East. The poaching of these creatures has seen a terrible increase in the past few years, rising from 1004 rhino deaths at the end of 2013 to a record high of 1215 by the end of 2014.
As a result of the growing concern for the species and in a bid to raise awareness of the crisis, Mahlatini have partnered with Save the Rhino International. Together, Mahlatini and Save the Rhino will put in motion a number of initiatives to campaign against rhino poaching, as well as providing corporate donations and fundraising activities to support their invaluable work.
Conservation has always been a big part of the Mahlatini promise. We only work with suppliers who employ strong conservational policies and share the Mahlatini vision for a sustainable future. As such the Mahlatini team naturally share Save the Rhino's passion for conservation of African wildlife, especially with safari as our core specialism, and we are fully committed to making a difference in the outcome of this incredible species.
In spite of being constantly challenged by conservation efforts, illegal poaching continues to rage on. The reason behind the rhino's persecution is the price placed upon its horn, which, in spite of appearances, grows from the skull without skeletal support, and as such is not a true horn. It is made from a substance known as keratin, which can be found in skin, hair and fingernails.
The major demand for the horn comes from Asia, particularly Vietnam and China. It is here the horn is ground up and drank; believed to be a 'cure all' medicine, for anything from smallpox to evil spirits. This belief is very much unfounded with there being no proof rhino horn possesses any such medicinal properties. Rhino horn has also grown to be a symbol of high social status, with only the very wealthy able to afford the large price tag attached to it.
The white and black rhinoceros are the only species of rhino remaining in Africa. They can be found in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Uganda. At present there is an estimated 20,405 white rhino left in the wild, leaving the species classified as near threatened. Unfortunately their cousin isn't faring as well, with only around 5,000 black rhino remaining, as such the species is critically endangered. White rhinos are the largest species of rhino in the world, weighing in at around 1,800 - 3,000kg, the rarer black rhino is slightly smaller however at 900 - 1,350kg.
Whilst many would assume the rhino's names are in reference to their colour, both are actually grey. Although it is still unknown as to the true origin behind their names it is believed the word 'white' could be a mistranslation of either Dutch or Afrikaans words meaning wide or wide mouthed. This is in relation to the wider square upper lip possessed by the white rhino, which differs to the pointed upper lip of the black rhino.