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Rhino Poaching in Africa Up 2,000%

Rhino Poaching in Africa Up 2,000%

Rhino poaching in Africa is up 2,000% in the past three years according to conservationists.

In the past year, poachers have started using advanced technology such as helicopters, veterinary-grade tranquilizers, and night vision to hunt rhinos. Officials believe international organized crime is responsible for new gear being used by poachers.

It isn’t surprising that poaching has increased or that the hunters are now using state-of-the-art technology to hunt rhinos. Rhino horn is sold on the black market for $30,000 per pound. With each rhino horn weighing between six and eight pounds, an average kill can be a $210,000 profit.

The dramatic rise in poaching isn’t confined to Africa. There are species of rhino native to Asia, but as Asian rhinos have smaller horns, the increase hasn’t been as intense as it has been in Africa.

Demand for rhino horn is driven by folklore and pseudo-science. In Asia, rhino horn is used in traditional Chinese medicines and in other places as an aphrodisiac, and even allegedly used by supermodels as a beauty treatment.

But truthfully, none of these treatments has any basis in science. The material in rhino horn is the same material in human fingernails. Keratin has no medicinal value whatsoever, beyond what you would get from chewing your fingernails.

If poaching continues to increase, we may see the extinction of rhinos in our lifetime.

Conservationists are hoping that increased public awareness of the plight of the rhino will lead to crackdowns on the poachers and their buyers.

However, it’s reasonable to assume that as long as there is a demand, there will be those who kill rhinos even if the chance of getting caught is greater. It seems there is as much work to do on the demand side of the equation as there is on the supply side.

The process of publicly debunking the myths surrounding the use of rhino horn seems an arduous task, but a public education campaign about the absurdity of the remedies AND the plight of the rhino must be paired with increased enforcement if we are to drive down both supply and demand.

If we fail, the rhinoceros will join the ranks of animals we can only see when visiting museums.

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Photo: Martin Pettitt

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8:13AM PDT on May 6, 2013

What a shame!! Poor innocent animals...

3:32AM PDT on Oct 23, 2012

With the exception of the Yangtze River dolphin, there is one similarity in the extinction of these animals.......European expansion. It seems that we killed most of the animals,and while we are conservation minded now, we weren't when we needed to be, and now it's too late. We are doing the same things with elephants and other big game animals, we killed them in the millions and now want to blame the Chinese, when it was us who killed so many of them that it made their populations unsustainable.

11:55AM PST on Jan 19, 2012

So sad.

2:31PM PDT on Oct 19, 2010


2:30PM PDT on Oct 19, 2010

Goreous animal true to it's species. Humans that hunt, poach, maim, or capture are not true to the human species.

8:14PM PDT on Oct 9, 2010

We can help the rhinos if we kill all the hunters in Africa!

9:42AM PDT on Oct 6, 2010

I don't think it is ever too late and least lets' not give up hope yet, it would be sad to lose all these magnificent and powerful animals.

4:14AM PDT on Oct 5, 2010


5:12PM PDT on Oct 3, 2010

We as the human race are hell bent on destroying not only everything around us , including other living beings, but ourselves in the process.
All ,so a few can have all the money in the world and all the power that money provides.

I read things like this and I'm ashamed to be part of a race that would do such harm to another living being, muchless the planet we all live on.

4:15PM PDT on Oct 3, 2010

Too bad and very sad.

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