Tags: south africa | rhino | deaths

South Africa Rhino Deaths Reach Record High Due to Poaching

By    |   Thursday, 20 Nov 2014 01:12 PM

South Africa rhino deaths hit a record high of 1,020 this year as poachers seek out the animal's valuable horn — worth more than its weight in gold.

According to Bloomberg News, a kilogram of rhinoceros horn can go for $65,000 to $95,000 in parts of Asia like China and Vietnam, where some believe it can cure ailments like cancer. The horns, made of a substance similar to human hair called keratin, are often ground into powders for consumption.

The majority of the rhinos hunted in South Africa are white rhinos, the biggest in all of Africa — weighing in at more than 2 metric tons.

One of South Africa's largest nature preserves, Kruger National Park, has been especially hard hit by hunters, where nearly 700 of the animals were killed.

"Unfortunately the threat of poaching has continued to escalate while various multi-faceted interventions are being implemented by South Africa," said Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa, according to Business Insider.

"We are concerned that poaching is part of a multi-billion dollar worldwide illicit wildlife trade. Addressing the scourge is not simple."

Local authorities have been cracking down on poachers, arresting 344 since the beginning of the year. Some have received heavy sentences of 77 years in prison, and this September a suspected poaching ringleader was taken into custody.

Customs is also doing its part, policing for illicit contraband on international flights. This month, 18 of the horns were seized on a flight bound for Vietnam.

The problem remains so bad that some have called for the government to heavily regulate rhino hunting instead of trying to enforce outright bans that don't seem to be working.

Altogether the country is home to roughly 20,000 of the giant rhinos, the vast majority of the world's population.

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South Africa rhino deaths hit a record high of 1,020 this year as poachers seek out the animal's valuable horn — worth more than its weight in gold.
south africa, rhino, deaths
295
2014-12-20
Thursday, 20 Nov 2014 01:12 PM
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