Many animals continue to suffer for the other products they can provide. Butterflies are commonly used for decoration. The skins of crocodiles, alligators, and snakes are made into shoes and handbags. The Cuban Crocodile has been so persecuted for its hide that it now lives only in two small swamps. The shells of Giant sea turtles, used to make tortoiseshell objects, have helped to make them endangered. Millions of birds are killed so their feathers can be used to make hats and clothing.
The elephant is highly prized for its ivory tusks. Their populations in Kenya alone have decreased by two-thirds in only eight years. The elephant population in Ruwenzori National Park has dropped from 3,000 to 150 individuals since 1972. The ivory trade is responsible for the deaths of 50,000 to 150,000 elephants each year.
The rhinoceros, killed for its horn, which is prized as a medicine and aphrodisiac, is also critically endangered. The great auk and the passenger pigeon became extinct in the 19th and early 20th centuries because of overhunting, and the Carolina parakeet perished as a species because of a combination of overhunting and habitat destruction. Virtually entire families of plants such as cactus, orchids and cycads are considered threatened or endangered because of over-collection for commercial purposes.
For example, every part of the rhinoceros is through to be a remedy for something - its teeth, hair, blood, internal organs, horn, etc. For a period of time, the Calcutta Zoo in India found a ready market for bottles of urine from their captive Indian Rhino. But of all the different rhino parts, the horn is the most highly prized. The horns, which are not made of bone but of a compacted mass of hairs, are especially prized by Indians and Chinese, who consider them to be a powerful aphrodisiac. Powdered horn, mixed in a potion, are supposed to cure anything from measles to diptheria. If it is applied externally in a poultice, it can cure boils and chicken pox. Rhino horns are in great demand in the Middle East as dagger handles, as well. They are traditionally gifts at puberty rites in the region. As much as $12,000 can be paid for rhino horn daggers. Carvers in North Yemen made more than 2,000 horns in 1975 and 1976 alone. Poaching is what almost annihilated the Javan Rhino, although habitat destruction would have crushed it by now if hunting hadn't done the job first. In 1970 about 10,000 Black Rhinos lived in Kenya, but by 1980 there were as few as 1,000. Luckily, some other rhino species, such as the White Rhino, are making a slow comeback.