WARNING: This article contains graphic images of animal mutilation that many may find offensive.
After poachers assaulted a black rhino with AK47 rifles, ripped off its horn, and left the endangered animal for dead, there was little hope for its survival.
Badly wounded and bloody, the rhino walked through the bush for nearly a week trying to find respite from extraordinary pain, National Geographic reports. Maggots had begun colonizing the rhino’s face before it finally passed away.
Instagram user @brentstirton captured this photo of the rhino shortly before it died.
Rhinos are some of the most endangered species on earth, yet they are still the target of unscrupulous poachers, many who only want the horns to sell as traditional medicines and trophies on the black market.
In 2018, the Chinese government made it even more lucrative for this type of slaughter, legalizing the trade of rhino and tiger parts after having banned the practice for 25 years.
Chinese authorities maintain the policy is a concession to farmed animals that are bred in the country, Nat Geo reports. Many of these farms, however, have been associated with inhumane practices like starving animals, inbreeding them, and abusing them to perform.
China has taken great steps forward in the realm of animal rights by banning domestic ivory shipments, but by legalizing the distribution of other endangered animal parts, we may soon see the Black Rhino go extinct.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.