Monday, 23 September 2013

White Rhino Joining Endangered Species List

The United States has listed the southern white rhinoceros as ‘threatened’ under the Endangered Species Act to curb the rampant poaching of wild populations.

The United States is a hub for the rhino horn trade, and products often transit here en route to South East Asia. Indeed, the United States has the greatest number of trophy hunters importing horns as trophies, said Teresa Telecky, director of wildlife for the Humane Society International.

Between 2002 and 2012, Americans imported 116 horn carvings, 206 horn pieces, 63 horns and 688 hunting trophies (including the head and horns of a rhino), according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Criminals in the U.S. buy these trophies and sell them in China or Vietnam, where the horns are used in folk remedies for their perceived, though non-existent, medicinal properties. Libation cups are also often carved from the horns in Chinese and Middle Eastern cultures. Horns are sold for about $65,000 per kilogram.

All this has doomed the rhino, which is being poached in record numbers across its range.

Four species of rhinos — the Javan, black, Sumatran, and Indian — which are highly endangered are already protected under the Endangered Species Act. The southern white rhino is the fifth and final addition (the northern white subspecies went extinct in 2006).

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