Thursday, 8 October 2009

A 'Spike' in Rhino Horn Poaching

Disturbing news (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/oct/07/rhino-horn-poaching-south-africa) that there has been a great surge in the killing of South African rhinos (with 84 rhinoceros killed by poachers thus far this year, including 33 in the flag ship establishment of Kruger Park), an activity linked to an "insatiable appetite for rhinoceros horn in east Asia". Horns (added as a powder to medicines to treat fevers and other illness, as well as being used to manufacture the handles of daggers given at puberty to boys in Yemen and Oman) can apparently sell currently for around £125 (but the ground version, like drugs, can be 'cut' with other substances, greatly expanding the profit margin). There are also reports that collectors in Asia are hoarding horn (like gold?) as they expect it to increase in value. It has been noted that the poachers have gone hi-tech, using helicopters and automatic rifles, in their 'military-like' activities. It seems to me that the poor old rhino has little chance under these present pressures.

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