Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Homing in on Horn Protection?

There is intriguing news that a co-founder of the Zululand rhino reserve has been given permission by the US Government to purchase the Arcturus T-20 military surveillance drone with a view to facilitating the protection of rhinos from poachers (http://mg.co.za/article/2012-12-26-saving-the-rhino-with-us-military-drones). Record numbers of rhinos have been killed this year for their horns. In Chinese medicine, this compacted hair is viewed as a cure (when powdered) for a number of conditions including fever (the aphrodisiac claim is not taken so seriously) and brings a very high price. The reserve would have to obtain permissions to fly the drones in South African airspace and I suspect (and hope) they would not be fitted with missiles. It is interesting that military pieces of kit can sometimes play a role in conservation.

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