A rhino mother shot. Poached. Horns gone. A little rhino baby crying at its mother’s side. Its name is Push Up. This is his story.
My name is Push Up. I am the cousin of Rip who features in Spinosa’s second tale: Rip Rhino and the Woodpecker’s Wisdom. Though Rip and I are related, he is a black rhino and I am a white rhino. “So, what’s the difference, you may ask?” We are larger and have a different mouth to the black rhino. My mouth is square lipped and Rip has a hook lip. We both have top-heavy bodies, cracked, wrinkly skin, a big head, poor eyesight but a keen sense of smell and we both like to charge! Rip’s temperament is a lot more aggressive and he prefers to be left on his own whereas I enjoy having my friends around.
It’s a wonder that I am still alive. You never know what is around the corner in life. I was so happy, following my mum around in the bush, comforted by her warm sweet milk. And then my world was shattered… literally. My mum was grazing and I was having a mud bath and then all of a sudden there were several big bangs and I saw some men with rifles advance. My mum fell to the ground – she’s no lightweight – and out of the bushes came four men carrying guns and big knives. I was so scared. “Should I stay with my mum?” or should I disappear? I thought it better if I hid behind a big Sycamore fig tree. What happened next, I can barely begin to tell you. Some men approached her – I think they are referred to as poachers – hacked off her beautiful long horn and just left her to die, a slow painful death. When they had gone, I ventured out of my hiding place and snuggled up to her. “mum, mum … wake up” But there was no response. Her body was cold, unresponsive yet her teats were still heavy with milk. Eih … eih …. eih…. eeh…. eeh I cried. “Why did these men commit such a barbaric act?” “Why, indeed?” It is all a matter of greed, of making money. It is not the meat they want but the horn which is prized in Asia for medicinal and ornamental purposes. Crazy really how these misguided individuals can think powdered rhino horn can cure them of their illness, as our horns consist of a fibre, keratin which is similar to human fingers and toe nails and … I think hair. Just imagine a human being killed for their hair. Doesn’t make sense, does it?
It’s a wonder that I am still alive despite suffering the heartbreak of losing everything in my world that matters most. I have experienced a dreadful ordeal and am one of the lucky ones but for how much longer can my species survive? People call us prehistoric, we have been on this earth for over 25,000 years but, sadly, our days are numbered. Though I am well protected against natural predators, I am helpless against the bullet and human hunters.
All we want is to walk in peace, graze and browse safely and be at one with the world. Please leave us alone. If we continue to be hunted and killed JUST for our horn, there will be no more rhinos left in this world. How sad would that be.
Our battle for survival has reached crisis level and we are now threatened with EXTINCTION.