Maputo — The authorities of the Limpopo National Park (PNL) in southern Mozambique fear that well-organised gangs of poachers are driving to extinction the small rhinoceros population in the park.
Vino Macamero, the PNL official in charge of protecting its wild life, cited on Radio Mozambique on Friday, said that a wildlife census in 2010 found that ten rhinos, introduced into the park three years ago, were missing.
Macamero feared that they had fallen victim to the poachers, who are well equipped and work with international criminal gangs. Rhinoceros horns are sold in Asia where they are considered a powerful aphrodisiac and fetch enormous prices.
The belief that rhino horn will boost sexual prowess is particularly idiotic, since the horn is made of keratin, which is exactly the same substance found in human hair and nails. Chewing your fingernails will have exactly the same effect on your sex life as eating powders made of rhino horn – none at all.
It is not only credulous Asians who believe in the magical powers of rhino horn. A “traditional doctor” named Kantona Hawa has been distributing leaflets on the streets of Maputo promising “rhinoceros horn powder to increase the size of your penis”. This charlatan has not yet been arrested.
Poaching is a serious threat to the continued existence of both species of rhinoceros (black and white) throughout southern Africa. In 2010, according to the South African authorities, 300 rhinos were slaughtered for their horns in that country. Recently, seven black rhinos were poisoned or shot in Zimbabwe.
“This is an alarming situation, and the government is aware of it”, Macamero told the radio.