Critically Endangered Black Rhino Brutally Slaughtered in Zimbabwe [Warning: Extremely Graphic Images]


The demand for rhino horn in ‘traditional Chinese medicine’ has claimed the life of another critically endangered black rhino in Zimbabwe.

This black rhino bull was shot in the brain yesterday while he drank from a watering hole in Zimbabwe. The wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC reports that rhino horn is now leaving southern Africa within hours of being obtained. By now, this rhino’s horns are on their way to China or perhaps Vietnam.

In this horrific case, the only consolation is the fact that he was killed instantly. He fell with his nose in the pool where he was drinking. In some killing attempts, the poachers axe the rhino’s spine to keep it from struggling, while they hack off the horns.

The sheer brutality of this attack is beyond comprehension. The rhino’s left eye was completely destroyed, along with his upper jaw. You can see the lower jaw here, with his tongue exposed.

Illegal rhino horn smuggled to China and Vietnam

The surge in demand for rhino horn is threatening to undermine decades of conservation efforts in southern Africa. More than 600 rhinos have been slaughtered for their horns since 2005.

By 2009, the illegal rhino horn trade had claimed 25 percent of Zimbabwe’s rhino population in just three years.

Rhino horn is in high demand for use in traditional medicines in China and Vietnam, despite the fact rhino horn has been extensively analyzed and contains no medicinal properties.

Research conducted by the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC found that most rhino horns leaving southern Africa are being smuggled to China and Vietnam.

Source: Personal communication, photos used with permission.

Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, an educational nonprofit organization which provides news and information about wildlife crime and endangered species. I am the Editor of Rhino Horn is Not Medicine and Project Pangolin, author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine, a writer for the environmental news blog Planetsave, the host of Behind the Schemes, and Producer for the upcoming documentary The Price. When I'm not blogging about the illegal wildlife trade, I enjoy gardening, reading, designing, and rocking out to live music.

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  1. My God to wake up to this has SHOCKED every nerve in my body, this poor baby hacked to pieces in the prime of his life. What now guys?? Do we need to capture every rhino and lock it up, unfortunately even in the protected parks here in Zim the barsteds get in and slaughter the rhino there, they probably feel very releived that they do not have to track hours in the bush to find them, they are just there for the picking!!! The photos have just killed me, how HORRIFIC and VILE!!! To locate him and find him like this DEGRADED to the utmost in his death must eat you guys up. So very sorry, so sad today a great BOY has left this cruel world, and for what???? Thoughts are with you in your constant daily fight for the SURVIVAL of these magnificent beasts, you guys are stronger than me I would break down at every DEATH!!! So so SAD!!!!!!

  2. thanks for getting the “word out” about these Rhino atrocities, these is terrible.

    kevin bewick

  3. I cannot find enough disgusting adjectives in the dictionary to describe what I would like to see done these cowards.

    Please continue to keep the battle going.

  4. That is the saddest thing! I hope the poachers are caught and punished to the fullest extent!!!!

  5. This has to stop! I hope that the poachers do get caught and I hope they suffer the same pain as this animals did. How sadistic and cruel! They were probably still alive and feeling so much pain. Way to go humans….. Continue to kill off every living thing on this planet! 700 of them left? I say throw the book at them and make them die a miserable slow death!

  6. Hit them in the wallet, folks, Don’t buy Chinese products.

    Indirectly it is every American’s fault. Too much luxury and too much debt. Who killed the rhino? All of us did, we need to accept responsibility and spend less, borrow less and pay back old debts, and pull the plug on the Chinese commercial/colonial mercantile machine.

    Step one: throw away the TV.

  7. lorraine from Australia

    I think we should send these ignorant asians our finger nail clippings for their stupd “medicine”. They are cruel and ignorant. Soon there will be no beautiful rhinos left.

  8. This slaughter need to be stopped..!
    And I believe my company had found a working solution to do it….
    On a hard but fair and legal way…..

  9. Oh my god! Please let us find a way to stop this horrific killing I feel so sick and Deeply saddened by this tragic brutal killing of a wonderful animal. Greed is a poisonous thing and as a human being I feel such helpless to what we are doing to our wildlife. Please help save this magnificent animal in any way you can