Rhino and moon are leaving us
Having rhinos and the moon in the same sentence sounds like some far-fetched fairy tale that Disney dreamt up. Truth is though; there is a similarity between the two as they are both leaving us albeit due to different reasons. As things currently stand this is a fairy tale without a happy ending. According to NASA the moon is moving away from the Earth at about 3.7cm per year due to the gravitational interactions between the two spheres. As of June 2014 at least 1 rhino was being killed every 9 hours. Losing the moon is likely to have devastating effects for life on Earth as most life-giving processes will be disrupted, but the moon’s departure is governed by laws of gravity which means there is little we can do to stop it, and at such a slow rate the negative effects may be felt only a few billions years from now.
The negative effects of losing rhinos stretch from the not so obvious ecological effects to the much publicized loss of heritage symbols and tourism revenue. Unlike the moon however the loss of rhino is something we are not completely powerless against. Despite the current situation being a grim one it is possible to stop the scourge of rhino poaching. Only this time the saviour of the rhinos will not be Disney’s favourite knight in shining armour, they can only be saved by collective efforts. History is filled with examples where collective human effort has turned bad situations to success stories. The collective efforts of countries to ban ozone depleting substances after the hole in the ozone was discovered has now resulted in that hole significantly decreasing in size. Conservation efforts once brought dwindling rhino populations to manageable numbers. Similar feats can be attained again if conservation movements stopped haggling over fine print and countries put their egos aside when it comes to conservation matters.
We, our grandchildren and their great grandchildren might never notice that we are losing the moon as it is only moving away from planet Earth by a few centimetres each year. Losing rhinos is something we will undoubtedly notice. The picture towards the end of this fairytale will be similar to the one at the beginning of this blog; where there is just a lonely landscape, the moon and no rhinos. As things stand we will lose all rhino populations within a few decades and our grandchildren may be lucky enough to see a few rhinos in zoos while our great grandchildren will only hear about these majestic creatures in their bedtime stories. The rhino would be something we only see in movies, maybe in a new Jurassic Park film, and the amazing ‘Big 5’ would be reduced to the less exciting ‘Big 4’.
-Fortunate M. Phaka