Recently in Botswana, a small, landlocked, southern African nation, there was the deaths of forty-six rhinoceri, which apparently seem to have come due to “highly organized” poaching operations according to France24.
At least 46 rhinos have been slaughtered in Botswana in 10 months, a government official said on Monday as the southern African wildlife haven reported a surge in poaching of the endangered species.
The killings — slightly under 10 percent of Botswana’s total rhino population — have occurred in the northern Moremi Game Reserve since April last year.
“I can attest that 46 rhinos have been killed by highly organised poachers between April last year to date,” he said. (source)
Rhinos are endangered species, and so the large die-off of so many of the animals is a cause for environmental concern.
It is also of interest to note that China, which has been looking to invest in Africa, has recent in the last year poured a lot of money into Botswana, mostly for the exploitation of raw materials, especially those for rare-earth elements used in computing, just as the US has done around the world.
For those unfamiliar with Chinese “medicine,” while there are good and real medicines not commonly used in Western medicine, there is a lot that is based on legends and for all practical purposes, a Chinese witchcraft of sorts with no medical proof other than legends. Many times these “cures” are for things such as strength, longetivity, or sexual vitality, and they involve the consumption of exotic or rare species. While it was not permitted before, the Chinese government formally legalized rhino horn for use as an aphrodisiac for men in 2018 (source).
While the article does not say it, could these poaching operations be tied to Chinese rhino horn gathering businesses? Likewise, given the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic, with desperate Chinese looking for any sort of “medicine” to help them (whether it does or not), and being open to “alternative” cures, could there be an epidemic of poaching not just rhinos, but many “exotic” animals as well as the expansion of a black market into China of trade in such things, and not just in Africa, but other countries where China has influence?
It remains to be seen.