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By Martha Leboho

The nation yesterday joined hands in commemorating World Rhino day which is celebrated annually on September 22 in honour of what is left of the black , white, Greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan rhinoceros.

Duped, “Keep the five alive” the theme serves as an awareness about the work being done to save rhinos from being poached and hunted.

Wildlife activists across the world have selected the theme to make people more aware of the rhino and inform people about the challenges and conservation developments to keep these exotic animals alive for future generations.

In an interview, Fauna and Flora Zimbabwe , Director Fidelis Nyamukondiwa said Rhinos are now threatened with extinction and require protection.

“Rhinos are now threatened with extinction and they require a special protection, 50 years ago there were about 70 000 rhinos but today there are less than 28 000 rhinos left in the wild” said Nyamukondiwa.

There has been an upsurge in the demand of the rhino’s horns and this has garnered poachers and hunters to kill the exotic wild animal.

“They are killed and hunted for their horns which are believed to have medicinal properties for the cure of cancer though there are no scientific evidence to this effect” he added.

Nyamukondiwa said the killing of a Rhino in Zimbabwe comes with a nine year jail sentence without an option to pay a fine.

“Because it is a specially protected mammal, in Zimbabwe the unlawful killing and hunting of a rhino or the possession of its trophy is an offence inviting nine years imprisonment without the option to pay a fine”he said.

Zimbabwe has both the black and white rhino species.