Black rhino photo: Neil via flickr.
The problem of rhino poaching continues to grow, with poaching levels at 15-year highs. Part of the reason according to WWF is rising demand in Asia, where the horn is used in traditional Chinese medicine, but Mongabay points out an undoubted contributing factor. Rhino horn is now worth more than gold:A kilogram of rhino horn now goes for $60,000 on the black market, whereas that much gold is currently worth a bit over $40,600. That's $1610 an ounce for the rhino horn.
Back in July, WWF reported that from 2000-2005 about three rhinos were killed per month in Africa as a whole, with that figure rising to 12 per month in Zimbabwe and South Africa.
At least in the case of Zimbabwe, an utter lack of law enforcement, not helped by virtually no funding for rangers to protect rhinos, and weak penalties for poachers who are caught doesn't help the situation.
In fact, 25% of Zimbabwe's rhinos have be killed just in the past three years, as evidence mounts that poachers are linking up with international crime syndicates to sell the horn.
Poaching in Asia isn't much better, with at least ten rhinos being killed in India and seven in Nepal since the start of 2009.
3 of 5 Rhino Species Critically Endangered
There are five remaining rhino species left in the world and according to the IUCN three are classified as critically endangered (Javan, Sumatran, and black rhino), the white rhino is listed as 'near threatened', while the Indian rhino is 'vulnerable'.
Indian rhino photo: Ajay Panachickal via flickr.
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