KAY Burley is on a mission to save rhinos.
The former Beech Hill resident and Sky News reader recently went on a trip to South Africa with her son Alexander and was moved by the plight of the large mammals, as they are being killed for their horns.
She wrote in The Daily Mail: “Sadly, there are millions of humans who want to see rhinos dead.
“Most of them are in the Far East.
“Humans who think the horn of the white or black rhino can be ground down and ingested to improve their sex lives, cure cancer or ward off evil spirits.
“Humans who are prepared to pay heavily-armed poachers to shoot and maim these animals, hack off their horn and ship it half way around the world to China.
“It’s the new drug trade in Africa, a multi-million dollar industry that commands $65,000 (around £42,000) a kilo for rhino horn. An average rhino horn is about 5kg.
“So far this year more than 200 rhino have been killed in the country.
“Last month during a high profile event at one of the Sabi Sands safari lodges, the poachers saw their latest opportunity. While the party was in full swing, they killed a pregnant female, macheted off her horn and left her almost full term but as yet unborn calf to die.
“If the poachers continue to win the battle then the rhino could be extinct in THREE years time.
“Of course, it’s a shame, but why should the rest of the world care?
“Lions, leopard, cheetah, hippo, elephant are all increasingly unsettled by the poaching and are heading away from the national parks. No animal sighting, no tourists.
“South Africa relies heavily on its tourism trade and so the government has begun to take notice.
“Jail sentences are increasing for poachers, but only if they’re caught and only if there’s enough evidence against them. More often than not, they walk free with a fine. The safari lodge owners have now begun their own fightback. They have settled on a programme of colouring the inside of the rhino horn pink making it impossible to sell to the Far East.
“Perhaps celebrities influential in the Far East like David Beckham could help hammer home the point that rhino horn is nothing more than hair.”