Rare Zim Rhino

April 17, 2009 by adminclyd · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Education, Travel 

Conservationists raised the alarm on Thursday for Zimbabwe‘s rare rhinos after a sharp increase in poaching because of a breakdown of law enforcement in this troubled southern African country. Organized criminal gangs kill rhinos to sell the valuable horn that is used as a traditional medicine in Asia and carved for ceremonial dagger handles in the Middle East, Raoul du Toit, head of southern Zimbabwe‘s Lowveld Rhino Trust, said in a telephone conference call with reporters. Zimbabwe‘s rhino population declined from about 830 in 2007 to 740 at the end of 2008 despite an excellent birth rate in monitored herds, London-based Save the Rhino executive director Cathy Dean said during the conference call.

Save the Rhino said at least 90 rhino were poached in 2008, twice the toll of the previous year, and conservation groups had counted 18 killed so far in 2009. It called for concerted action by the Zimbabwean government and international agencies. Conservationists also reported a surge in poaching of zebra for their hides. These, alongside illegal diamonds, gold and other contraband, were smuggled through Zimbabwe‘s porous borders. Some zebra hides ended up as upholstery in Europe and the zebra poachers were likely to encounter rhino in the same habitat and know their value, du Toit said.

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