Operation Crash — named after the term for a herd of rhinoceros — is sending wildlife traffickers to prison and seizing millions of dollars in cash, gold bars, rhino horn, and luxury vehicles and jewelry.

The operation is an ongoing U.S. nationwide effort to detect, deter and prosecute people engaged in the illegal killing of rhinoceros and the unlawful trafficking of rhinoceros horns.

Adult rhinoceros have no known natural predators. All species of rhinoceros are protected under U.S. and international law. Since 1976, trade in rhinoceros horn has been regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, a treaty signed by more than 170 countries to protect fish, wildlife and plants that are or may become imperiled due to the demands of international markets.

These  smuggled rhino horns were seized by U.S. law enforcement personnel. (USFWS)

Nevertheless, the demand for rhinoceros horn and black market prices have skyrocketed in recent years due to the value that some cultures place on ornamental carvings, good luck charms or alleged medicinal uses, even though rhino horn has no proven medical efficacy. That demand has led to a dramatic decline in the global rhinoceros population.

Wild rhino populations have declined by more than 90 percent since 1970. South Africa, for example, has witnessed a rapid escalation in poaching of live animals, rising from 13 in 2007 to a record 1,004 in 2013.

Conservationists estimate that each day three wild rhinos are killed for their horns. Illegal trade in rhino horn is about 30 times greater now than it was in the year 2000.

Don’t be part of the problem. Don’t buy products derived from endangered species. It’s one of many ways you can help save wildlife.