Rare Rhino Dies Days after Rediscovery

May 24, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. poach / poʊtʃ / (v.) – to steal animals or hunt them illegally
Example: Hunters poached several elephants to take their tusks.

2. primarily / praɪˈmɛər ə li / (adv.) – as the main reason for doing something
Example: Illegal hunters take animals primarily for money.

3. debunk / dɪˈbʌŋk / (v.) – to prove and show that something is false
Example: Scientists were able to debunk several native beliefs about the plant.

4. status symbol / ˈsteɪtəs ˈsɪm bəl / (n.) – something owned by wealthy people that shows their high status or wealth
Example: Wealthy people sometimes collect exotic goods as a status symbol.

5. aggravate / ˈæg rəˌveɪt / (v.) – to make something bad even worse
Example: The lack of immediate medication aggravated the wounded animal’s condition.


Read the text below.
A rare Sumatran rhino died of an infection just a few days after its rediscovery in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo.

Najaq, a female Sumatran rhino estimated to be around five years old, was the first of its kind to be spotted in Kalimantan after more than 40 years. Najaq’s sighting brought hope because Sumatran rhinos were previously thought to be extinct in the area. Najaq was taken into the custody of a Sumatran rhino sanctuary in Indonesia at the end of March.

Unfortunately, soon after Najaq’s capture, its health quickly deteriorated until it died. Najaq’s caretakers suspected that the rhino died because of an infected wound on its leg. They believe that the wound was caused by a failed attempt to poach Najaq.

Rhinos are poached primarily because of their tusks, which are exported to different countries. These tusks are used to make traditional medicine despite scientific studies that debunk beliefs of their medicinal properties. Rhino tusks are also bought by wealthy people and are treated as a status symbol because of their high price, a survey by wildlife organization TRAFFIC found.

Wildlife experts believe that there are only about a hundred Sumatran rhinos left in Indonesian forests. Rhinos produce only one offspring every three to four years, which further aggravates the population decline caused by poaching.

Efforts to save the Sumatran rhinos include setting up breeding facilities. Currently, the Cincinnati Zoo in the United States is planning to send Harapan, a male Sumatran rhino in its keep, to a breeding facility in Indonesia in hopes of finding it a mate.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with the Cincinnati Zoo’s plan to send Harapan to Indonesia? Why or why not?
·         Do you think that endangered animals should be kept in human-made sanctuaries or should they be left in the wild? Explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         What can help discourage people from poaching rhinos?
·         What is a fair punishment for rhino poachers?

May 24, 2016