Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rhinos still remain favorite targets for poachers

Rhinos are among the most endangered species in the world. Their population number continues to shrink because they are being mercilessly hunted and killed by poachers for their horns which achieve very high prices in Asian black market.

According to a recent report coming from South Africa 341 rhinos have been killed in 2011 so far, already overtaking last year's total of 333.

South Africa has the largest rhino population in the world, with 1,916 black rhinos and 18,780 white rhinos. The total number of all of the five species of rhino in the whole world is below 25,000 with three species being critically endangered.

As already said before rhinos are being killed because of their horns. In several Asian countries such as China and Vietnam there are many people who believe that rhino horn can cure many diseases such as cancer.

Poachers and smugglers operate in well organized gangs which makes it very difficult for authorities to catch them and illegal Asian market is in constant high demand for rhino horns.

The latest proof to this comes from the Hong Kong where customs officers have seized 33 horns from highly endangered rhinos. Together with horns, officers also seized 758 ivory chopsticks and 127 ivory bracelets.

The worst part in the whole story is that the rhinos are extremely easy target for poachers. They may be very powerfully built but they also visit water holes every day, which means that they are being very easily killed while taking a drink.

The conservation efforts have so far been anything but successful and conservationists are even trying extreme methods – in certain areas, for instance, rhinos have been tranquilized and their horns removed to prevent poachers killing them.

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