The world's rhinoceroses face extinction because a part of their anatomy is valued too much. Poachers hunt and slaughter them because their horns are treasured. Once an estimated 100,000 black rhinos roamed from the Sahara to the Cape of Good Hope but onw less than 3% remain. In all of Africa, there is but a single unfenced population numbering more than 100 individuals, in the inhospitable barrens of the Namib Desert. In 1989 a radical strategy was developed - cutting the horns. The rationale is simple. If a rhino has no horns, the incentive to kill it should disappear. What has since unfolded is a biological and political drama. Carol Cunningham and Joel Berger describe their quest to help conserve Africa's black rhinos in a book that is both an adventure story and virtual guidebook to the challenges and experience of field biology. The authors present such a multifaceted and rich account of the complicated mix of scientific, political, economic, social, and moral concerns affecting any effort to preserve an endangered species.
It moves beyond the typical nature study by bringing in real world components of conservation - the delicate mix of western science, politics and economics, and personal despair and hope.