The last 15 rhinoceroses have been shot by poachers in Mozambique allegedly with the help of the game rangers hired to protect the rhinoceroses. The rangers are believed to have used the tracking devices on the animals in the Mozambican part of Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park to help poachers locate the animals and cut off their horns.
These were the last of an estimated 300 animals that have been killed for their horns — largely for the Chinese and Asian markets. Some 30 rangers have been arrested.
On the other side of the border in South Africa, 180 have been killed just this year alone to feed the market for rhino horn.
The underpaid and obviously disloyal rangers in these countries now appear part of the problem rather than the solution. What is most striking is that the killing of the last 15 rhinos in the country occurred with the world watching. The Chinese and Asian buyers of these horns were undeterred as were those people buying these products despite international outcry and efforts.
There is no science supporting claims that rhino horn actually helps fevers and convulsions. Yet, these users of rhino horn represent a particularly brutal and disgusting version of the tragedy of the commons. Their insatiable desire for these Asian remedies continues to mount with scarcity. They simply do not care that they are killing off the species so long as they can get some for themselves.