25% of Zimbabwe's Rhinos Killed in Past Three Years by Gangster Poachers

white rhino zimbabwe photo

photo: derekkeats via flickr.

As if Zimbabwe didn't have enough problems: The Economic Times forwards on the news that Zimbabwe's director of national parks has told a parliamentary committee that one-quarter of the nation's rhinoceros population has been killed by poachers, just in the last three years:Morris Mustambiwa said that some 200 rhinos have been taken by poachers linked to international crime syndicates. In particular, poachers have been targeting the southeastern part of the nation, and the Zambezi valley in the north.

The country's ongoing economic and political troubles were cited as being behind the rise in poaching. Mustambiwa said that the wildlife authority simply lacked funds to provide adequate security to Zimbabwe's estimated 500 black and 300 white rhinos.

Increasing Asian Demand Drives Poaching
Some context: Back in July, WWF reported that global rhino poaching was at a 15 year high, with the highest rates occuring in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Increasing demand for rhino horn, used in traditional Chinese medicine, combined with weak law enforcement
and penalties for poachers were seen as being behind the record levels of rhino killing.

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