Rhinos are being poached in South Africa.
“Poaching” is when people (“poachers”) illegally kill a wild animal.
This year so far 341 rhinos have been poached in South Africa. That’s the most, ever, for one year.
Rhino horns are believed by some people, particularly in Asia, to be able to cure ailments like nosebleeds and fevers. No one knows if this is actually true. Even if the horns did have medicinal properties, there are many modern medicines available that are likely to be much more effective.
They are also used as handles for ornamental daggers in some countries. The horns can sell for $35,000 per kilogram.
The poaching is leading to a crisis in the rhino population, which is dwindling.
The poachers are likely highly organized and therefore very hard to stop.
The South African government is taking some measures to prevent the poaching. In October, they moved 19 endangered black rhinos from national parks to private land to keep them away from poachers.
The government in South Africa is looking at other ways they can prevent the poaching. They are even thinking of making the hunting of rhinos legal. This would allow the government to put in place rules and regulations about who can hunt them, what they can hunt, and when. The government is doing to study to find out if that would lead to less poaching.
Some Rhino facts:
*Rhinos can sleep standing or lying down.
*Rhino is short for rhinoceros.
*Rhinoceros is made of two ancient Greek words: rhino (“nose”) and keras (“horn”).
*A rhino’s horn is made of keratin, the same type of protein your hair and nails are made of.
*The plural of rhinoceros is rhinoceros or rhinoceroses.
By Kathleen Tilly
Do you think the idea to make hunting rhinos legal would work? Do you think this would reduce the numbers of poachers illegally hunting rhinos? Why or why not?
Can you think of any other solutions to help this problem?
What other animals do you know of that are in danger or facing extinction? What are people doing to protect these animals? Are these solutions working?
How are these situations similar or different to the rhinos in South Africa?
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge and experience, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).
Grammar Feature: Words with many meanings (homonym)
Homonyms are words that have the same spelling, but different meanings. One example from the article is the word ‘poach’ – you can ‘poach’ an egg to cook it, or you can ‘poach’ a rhino and hunt it illegally.
Two other homophones in this article are: horn and study. What are all of the different meanings of these words?