Most rhino habitats extend outside protected areas, and the rapid growth of human populations and extension of agriculture into rangelands and forests means that rhino habitat is continuing to dissipate.
Rhinos are darted, poisoned, trapped with snares, or taken down with high-powered rifles. While the animal is sometimes still alive, the horns are gouged from their face with hatchets or chainsaws. Rhinos die an agonizing, slow death from hemorrhage often while their young watch nearby. There has been an escalation in poaching and illegal trafficking in recent years driven by increasing demand in Asia.
An endangered species is supremely desired by hunters who yearn to add the rarest of animals to their trophy collection. The winner of the trophy hunting auction pays up to $350,000 for the right to kill an endangered species. Affluent individuals, primarily of American and European origin, spend between $50,000 and $350,000 to kill a rhino. Male rhinos mature slowly and can take as long as twelve years before reproducing. The mother gives birth to a single calf which can take up to 18 months to be born. In short, rhinos cannot reproduce fast enough to offset the population declines.