December 20, 2013

Imperiled Rhino

Photograph by Richard Young

This Month in Photo of the Day: National Geographic Photo Contest Images

Zimbabwe's Matopos National Park had 86 white and 36 black rhinos ten years ago. Poachers have reduced these numbers to only 9 white 17 black rhinos today. These numbers say it all. The park's oldest white rhino, Gumboot, was killed by poachers just two weeks before I took this picture of Swazi 2, his horn cut off to help protect him from poaching. If we do not act now to save them from poaching, we will be the generation responsible for the extinction of the rhino in the wild.


(This photo and caption were submitted to the 2012 National Geographic Photo Contest.)


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27 comments
Alexandra Boyle
Alexandra Boyle

People say they don't understand the purpose of poaching. But most negative  human indulgences involve doing whatever you can do gain as much money as you can. These people obviously don't understand the consequences of killing such a species and it sickens me. This is such a powerful photo by Richard Young and also a very hard one to capture. Motion capture is hard while the animal is moving. Especially after such pressure just after this appened. So powerful, well done. 

Sandra Hickman
Sandra Hickman

Well after the elephant and the rhino come the lions. They are now finding some medicinal value in the bones of lions. When and where will it ever stop.. one day the only animals you will see are those in zoos or stuffed ones. How sad is that. Still a brilliant photo.

Kat W
Kat W

People's ignorance and cruelty never cease to shock me. They are such beautiful creatures - why would anyone want to harm them?

Shannon T
Shannon T

That's one of the saddest things I've ever read. How awful that the way to save an animal is to cut off its horn. Poachers have no souls.

Nigel Reay-Young
Nigel Reay-Young

So much to say. As a Vet I am saddened by the poaching. As a Human I am saddened by the slaughter of innocent people around the world. I am appalled by Americas refusal to enforce gun laws in their own country, arguably the most civilized country in the world, which thereby sets a poor example to the world. Conceivably their is an argument for the poachers in that most of them are very poor. I look to the words of John Lennon when he said "and then the world can live as one" but worry that we have a long way to go.

Nigel Reay-Young

Lawrence Sibley
Lawrence Sibley

According to Wikipedia, a rhino horn will fetch a quarter million dollars on the black market in Vietnam.  In the wild west, that was considered having a price on your head.


The rhinoceros (literally the "nose horns") have been around for 6 million years.  They are easy prey for poachers because rhinos like to visit the local water hole each day for a drink of water.


The motion pan in this B&W photo communicates the rhinos' desperate situation.

Hoon Jin
Hoon Jin

밀렵으로부터 보호하기 위해 코뿔을 잘라낸 것이라니.. 코뿔이 없는 코뿔소네..

justin sayin
justin sayin

It seems Zimbabwe's government is totally incapable saving these remaining Rhinos in this supposed 'National-Park'. Either they are lacking the necessary funds to protect these magnificent beasts or are disinterested in doing so. The poachers appear to be unstoppable and when the remaining Rhinos are wiped out other species will be slaughtered to extinction. It's a pathetic, sorry situation all around and a sad, sad day for the human-race that has say good-bye to our fellow earth inhabitants forever .

Bev Hennager
Bev Hennager

 Beautiful and poetic.  His low head and the blur make it seem as though he is fleeing in fear, from my  nearly forgotten dream.  You can help save them with donations to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

Janice H.
Janice H.

Before I read the description for the picture, when I saw the photograph.... my immediate feeling was of fear and sadness for these poor animals.         How awful the poachers cannot, and do not know or care of the significance of what they are perpetrating on this animal!           A powerful photograph Mr.Young.

Jude Wills
Jude Wills

strong, strong image, with an equally strong message

Hitesh Kumar
Hitesh Kumar

great image...beautiful artistic touch to it.


it's a shame that such things are happening in the world. 

To satisfy our materialistic lust we kill such animals and

disturb our beautiful mother nature.

pamela letstalkaboutcorsica
pamela letstalkaboutcorsica

powerful image here, where the imposing stature of this animal is literally witnessed through the movement captured - as for the pityful history of humanity so often, as regards to nature? utter shame is strongly felt.

Joy Saldanha
Joy Saldanha

What in hell have these beautiful animals come to, when their horns have to be cut so as to keep them alive! What  have we as humans come to, to not realize what we kill them at will, and leave their numbers to dwindle dangerously, not seeming to care! I cannot see this picture without crying. Yes, I am a big animal lover. j.e.s. 

Pio Nowak
Pio Nowak

One day I heard that the worst animal is human and sometimes I agree with these but fortunately there are also people who want to protect every kind of live in our planet.

Narada Karunatilaka
Narada Karunatilaka

I think animal are far better than human. Animals kill another when the are hungry. But human......?????

Leslyn Simpson
Leslyn Simpson

Beautiful Shot!! And It is such a shame to see that one of our big five animals are being treated this way. 

Darren Shao
Darren Shao

Oh my god. I'm really sorry for these innocent, lovely and helpless animal friends.

I feel so ashamed and guilty of us mankind. 

Killing wild-life animals like elephants or dolphins or sharks etc for greedy profit is a sinful crime. This kind of deeds shall be comdamned by everyone of us, because it's so irresponsible and ruthless. We should against any products related to wild-life animals!

D. Z.
D. Z.

It's moving!

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