Poachers pushing rhinos to extinction

THE DAILY TIMES – PAKISTAN

Poachers seeking horn for traditional medicines are driving once thriving populations of rhinos in Africa and Asia towards extinction, global nature protection groups said on Thursday. In a report issued in Geneva, they said illegal slaughter of the already endangered animals is rising fast, with rates hitting a 15-year high amid stepped-up activities by Asian-based criminal gangs feeding the demand for horn. “Illegal rhino horn trade to destinations in Asia is driving the killing, with growing evidence of involvement of Vietnamese, Chinese and Thai nationals in the illegal procurement and transport of the horn out of Africa,” the report declared. While between 2000 and 2005 a relatively low total of three rhinos was estimated to have been illegally killed each month in Africa out of a total population of some 18,000, 12 were now being slaughtered monthly in the two countries alone. In India, 10 of the animals had been slaughtered for horn since January and at least 7 in Nepal, out of a total population for the two countries of just 2,400, the report said. In many Asian countries, rhino horn has long been regarded as a vital ingredient in folk cures for many illnesses as well as for male sexual impotency, although medical specialists say it has no healing or potency powers. But the WWF’s Lieberman said the upsurge marks “the worst rhino poaching for many years” and represents a deadly threat to the animals’ survival around the world. reuters

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Filed under animals, biodiversity, conservation, endangered, environment, environmentalism, extinction, nature, wildlife, zoology

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