‘ Out of the shadow- black rhino ’
The black rhino is in terrible trouble in Africa and the Western black has already gone. This extract taken from 2013 Scientific American gives you some understanding of just why I won't actually tell you where this particular black rhino lives (protected by armed rangers 24/7).
The extract is as follows...… 'Oh what a difference a century makes. At the beginning of the 20th century, an estimated one million black rhinoceroses from four different subspecies roamed the savannas of Africa. By 2001 that number had dropped to about 2,300 black rhinos and just three subspecies. This is the tale of how we lost one of those subspecies, the western black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis longipes). It is a story of greed, indifference, hope and despair. Historically, the western black rhino had a fairly large range across central and western Africa, with populations in modern-day Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic, Sudan and South Sudan, making it the northernmost African rhino subspecies. Although it had lived in these countries for centuries, the western black—like most rhinos—found itself to be incompatible with the 20th century. Widespread sports hunting in the first decades of the century quickly decimated rhino populations. Industrial agriculture came next, clearing many historic rhino habitats for fields and settlements. Farmers and ranchers at the time viewed large herbivores such as rhinos as pests and dangers to their crops. The slaughter continued.
The final nail in the rhinos' coffin began in the early 1950s, when Mao Zedong promoted so-called traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as a tool for unifying the country he had recently come to lead. Even though Chairman Mao himself did not believe in TCM, he called for its use over Western medicine. Among the many "cures" touted by China's "New Medicine" was powdered rhino horn, which was said to cure everything from fevers to cancer. (This last claim is a fairly recent development.) That's when poachers descended on Africa. Between 1960 and 1995 an astonishing 98 percent of black rhinos were killed by poachers, either to feed the new and voracious demand for TCM or, to a lesser extent, for horns to be used as ceremonial knife handles in the Middle East. All rhinos suffered; the western black rhino, already weakened by decades of overhunting, was the hardest hit.
So that's it...…, I hope this charcoal engraving isn't the only black rhino you ever see in my art. I would live to do many more as they are such wonderful creatures and deserve every right to a peaceful life.
Charcoal engraving on board 57 X 39cm $ 1490