Tuesday 15 March 2016

Rhino poaching: Another year, another grim record

 By David Shukman
Science editor
9 March 2016

The mass slaughter of rhinos has increased for the sixth year in a row, according to grim new figures from international researchers.

At least 1,338 of the iconic animals were killed for their horns in Africa last year.
This is the greatest loss in a single year since an intense wave of poaching began recently.

Since 2008, as many as 5,940 rhinos have been killed although scientists fear that could be an underestimate.

The findings were compiled by researchers from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The losses come despite a drive to fight poaching gangs by strengthening patrols, harnessing satellite technology and boosting intelligence-gathering.

The IUCN blames continuing demand from South East Asia - where rhino horn is wrongly believed to have medicinal properties - fed by increasingly sophisticated international crime networks.
'Nowhere is safe'
Officials say that amid the killings there are some helpful developments.

Overall, the rate of increase in poaching has fallen slightly and in South Africa, home to the greatest number of rhinos, the numbers killed in a single year fell slightly for the first time since 2008.

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