African Rhino Poaching 獵殺犀牛

Rhinoceros, or simply rhino, is featured by its huge and primitive-looking appearance. Their existence can date back from the Miocene era, about 14 million years ago. Today, there remain five species of such odd-toed ungulates, all of which are endangered because of the continuous hunting by humans. Two species were found in Arica while the other three in southern Asia which include India, Malaysia and Sumatra.

犀牛屬哺乳類動物,有着龐大的身軀和原始的外貌。牠們的存在可追溯到從中新世時代,約 14萬年前。時至今日,像這些只有三隻腳趾的有蹄類動物有五種。可是,人類過度獵殺而令其陷於瀕危。當中兩個品種可在非洲找到,而其他三個則在南亞地區,包括印度、馬來西亞和蘇門答臘。

Rhino can weigh one tonne or more with an herbivorous diet. Except the Indian and Javan Rhinoceros, all other species have two horns with the front horn larger than the other one. Their skin is thick and full of collagen and the horns are made of keratin. Their eyesight is poor but has a very strong sense of smell and hearing. This enables them to find one another by following the trail of scent being left behind throughout the vast landscape. Rhinos are wallowers, that means, they roll about in mud, sand and water, create a coating on their skin to ward off the bugs. This can also act as sunblock under the hot African sun. They have a life span of about 35-40 years.

由於體形巨大,犀牛可重達一噸或以上,屬草食性的動物。除了印度和爪哇犀牛,其餘的品種都有兩隻角,前角大於另一隻。牠們的皮膚很厚,充滿膠原蛋白。牛角含有豐富角蛋白。犀牛的視力差,因此只好依賴嗅覺和聽覺,根據其族羣留下的氣味來尋找對方。犀牛很喜歡在泥、沙和水中打滚,使得皮膚塗上覆蓋層以驅走小蟲子。此舉也可於非洲的炎熱天氣下作防曬用途。牠們一般的壽命為35 - 40年。

There are two types of African species of rhinoceros, the White Rhinoceros and the Black Rhinoceros. In fact, both of them are actually grey in colour. The main difference between these two species is the shape of their mouths. White rhino has wide, flat muzzle adapted for grazing. Its weight ranges from 1,500 - 3,500 kg, head-and-body length of 3.5 – 4.5 m and stands about 2 m at the shoulder. It has a prominent muscular hump on the neck to support its large head. White rhino lives in savannah with water holes and tends to live and gather in groups. White rhino is further divided into Northern and Southern sub-species. South Africa has the most population of the Sothern White Rhinoceros in the world, about 14,500 by 2005. On the contrary, the number of the Northern White Rhinoceros has been largely reduced to only a few living the wild. If they are not held in captivity for reproduction, they would have thought to become extinct.

非洲品種的犀牛有兩類型,白犀牛和黑犀牛。事實上,牠們的身軀都是灰色的,不同之處在於嘴巴的形狀。白犀牛的嘴巴寬闊而呈方形,方便吃青草。牠的重量大概是 1500 - 3500公斤,頭部與身體長度約 3.5 - 4.5米,從肩膀度起身高約 2米,近脖子位置有一個隆起的肌肉,用以承托牠的大腦袋。白犀牛多生活在稀樹草原及有水孔的地方,屬羣居性動物。白犀牛可再進一步分為北部和南部兩種。世上擁有最多南部白犀牛的國家是南非。统計至2005年約有14,500隻。相反,北部白犀牛的數量相當小,只有數隻生活在野外。如果沒有把牠們關起來進行繁殖,可能整個品種已被滅絕。

Black rhino has long, pointed lip for eating foliage. Its weight is far less than the White, around 800 – 1,600 kg, head-and-body length of 3.5 – 4 m and stands about 1.4 – 1.8 m at the shoulder. Unlike the White Rhinoceros, the Black is usually solitary. Since their main appetite is leaves, bushes, plants and trees, they probably inhabit in areas with dense vegetation.

黑犀牛有長而尖的嘴巴,最適合吃樹葉。牠的重量遠低於白犀牛,約 800 - 1600公斤,頭部和身體長度約 3.5 - -4 米,身高約 1.4 - 1.8米。,黑犀牛通常是單獨生活的。由於牠們的主要食糧是樹葉,灌木和樹木,牠們大多居住在植物茂盛的地區。

It was such a misfortune that the number of rhinos, whether young or adult, had kept on dropping drastically, making them nearly no longer exist in the wild. Apparently, humans are their chief predators. The fact is, rhino horns are widely used in traditional Asian medicine with a misconception that they are especially effective on fever and convulsion. The horns are also crafted as ornamental dagger handles in North Africa and the Middle East. These are the reasons why their horns are of great value to be sold in the black market. Young rhinos are good prey of big cats, wild dogs and hyena. Adult rhinos, disregard their sizes and reputation of being tough and ill-tempered when constantly disturbed, are in fact very easily poached. Since they go to water holes every day, they are usually attacked and killed while taking a drink. In certain areas, rhinos are tranquillized before removing the horns.


In recent decades, rhino poaching has reached to a very serious level, causing a tremendous decline in the global population to a point of near extinction. Officials in South Africa have put much effort, through various means, to conserve such endangered species. In the last quarter of 2010, The National Wildlife Crime Reaction Unit (NWCRU), led by the Department of Environmental Affairs, along with South African National Parks (SANParks), was established. By the end of 2010, more than 160 people arrested by this unit were real poachers and couriers. This figure was almost 5.5 times the number of poachers being arrested by the Kruger National Park alone in 2009. Fitting rhinos with Global Positioning System (GPS) technology is one method that allows 24-hour monitoring. It is also useful in tracking the poachers, controllers of the poaching gangs and the international buyers. Using the record of individual rhino DNA in connection with the horns recovered from some crimes is an important element for prosecution. To eliminate the threat of poaching requires effort to be made not only in South Africa, but also international cooperation on detecting smuggling and trading of rhino horns and their related products.

近幾十年來,偷獵犀牛已達到非常嚴重的程度,令其全球數目到了一個瀕臨滅絕點。南非官員透過各種方法和途徑,一直在努力地保護這種勳物。在2010年年底,The National Wildlife Crime Reaction Unit (NWCRU)正式成立。在短短幾個月裹,己超過 160人被捕,當中都是真實的偷獵者和偷運者。這個數字幾乎是Kruger National Park在2009年所逮捕人數的5.5倍。為犀牛裝上全球定位系統(GPS),是一種可有效地24小時監控犀牛的技術。它也用於追踪偷獵者,偷獵集團伙伴和國際買家。利用已知犀牛的DNA及從過往偷獵者檢回來的犀牛角中互相查核,更能有效起訴和檢控罪犯。不僅在本土,南非都需要跟其他國家合作,偵查走私野生動物製品。