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Poachers Kill Last Female Rhino in South African Park for Prized Horn

July 21, 2010
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The last rhinoceros cow in Krugersdorp park, South Africa, bled to death on Wednesday after poachers hacked off her horn. Photograph: Reuter

Simulposted with guardian.co.uk
South African wildlife experts are calling for urgent action against poachers after the last female rhinoceros in a popular game reserve near Johannesburg bled to death after having its horn hacked off.

Wildlife officials say poaching for the prized horns has now reached an all-time high. “Last year, 129 rhinos were killed for their horns in South Africa. This year, we have already had 136 deaths,” said Japie Mostert, chief game ranger at the 1,500-hectare Krugersdorp game reserve.

The gang used tranquilliser guns and a helicopter to bring down the nine-year-old rhino cow. Her distraught calf was moved to a nearby estate where it was introduced to two other orphaned white rhinos.

Wanda Mkutshulwa, a spokeswoman for South African National Parks, said investigations into the growing number of incidents had been shifted to the country’s organised crime unit. “We are dealing with very focused criminals. Police need to help game reserves because they are not at all equipped to handle crime on such an organised level,” she said.

Rhino horn consists of compressed keratin fibre – similar to hair – and in many Asian cultures it is a fundamental ingredient in traditional medicines.

Mkutshulwa said poaching was also rife in the Kruger Park. Five men were arrested there in the past week alone – four of whom were caught with two bloodied rhino horns, AK-47 assault rifles, bolt-action rifles and an axe.

Krugersdorp game reserve attracts at least 200,000 visitors every year. It is also close to a private airport, which may have been used by the poachers.

“The exercise takes them very little time,” Mostert said. “They first fly over the park in the late afternoon to locate where the rhino is grazing. Then they return at night and dart the animal from the air. The tranquilliser takes less than seven minutes to act.

“They saw off the horns with a chainsaw. They do not even need to switch off the rotors of the helicopter. We do not hear anything because our houses are too far away. The animal dies either from an overdose of tranquilliser or bleeds to death.”

The committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) warned last year that rhino poaching had reached an all-time high. The Cites conference in Geneva in July 2009 heard that Asia’s economic expansion had fuelled the market in rhino horns. The horns are also used in the Middle East to make handles for ornamental daggers. Cites said demand for them had begun to soar in recent years. In the five years up to 2005, an average of only 36 rhinos had been killed each year.

Conservationists estimate that there are only 18,000 black and white rhinos in Africa, down from 65,000 in the 1970s. Mostert, who has been a ranger for 20 years, said the animals fetch up to 1m rand (£85,000) at game auctions and cannot be insured.

Cites has praised South Africa for its action against poachers. Two weeks ago, a Vietnamese man was jailed for 10 years for trying to smuggle horns out of the country.


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32 Comments leave one →
  1. Jhonson Barrera permalink
    July 21, 2010 10:19 am

    Horrible situation in this cruel world, the men are the most cruel creature, no compassion, heartless only respondent to economical ambitious interest with direct or indirect support of the governments, I really will be happy when I leave the world and i wish just this people get justice for what they doing and if in my hands this kind of case come I just wish to kill those cowards that only abuse of innocents creatures that cannot defend for themself.

    Like

  2. vago permalink
    July 21, 2010 10:43 am

    stop it now !!!

    Like

    • virginia permalink
      November 18, 2011 8:59 pm

      this is soooooooooo messed up what if what ever you guys are using this poor animal for is gone what next and how would you like it if someone killed your innocent animal you put into this world you guys are just being childish killing other animals leaving them with nothing else to protect themselves is like someone else taking yall brains if yall have any im sorry it’s the truth

      Like

  3. Julie Butche permalink
    July 21, 2010 10:53 am

    I am sick with grief hearing of this poor beautiful endangered Rhino being murdered without thought for the consequences. The callous greed and heartlessness of humans is truly frightening for the creatures of this world that need protecting not to be treated as commodities. It’s sickening.

    Like

    • virginia permalink
      November 18, 2011 9:01 pm

      yes me tooooooooooooooooo like stop it stop

      Like

  4. July 21, 2010 11:09 am

    What a senseless waste of life.

    Like

  5. gail permalink
    July 21, 2010 11:38 am

    good god I cried when I saw this..

    Like

  6. Debra permalink
    July 21, 2010 12:44 pm

    This is a disgusting act upon these animals!!!.. WHAT THE HELL??? Obviously,we are dealing with greedy, filthy, and I wouldn’t even call them human beings!!…

    Like

  7. COMTESSE permalink
    July 21, 2010 1:30 pm

    Les rhinos sont une espèce en voie de disparistion en plus ces cornes que l’on broyent en poudre car elles ont des effets physiques est une légende qu’une masse d’illétrés croient avoir des pouvoirs surnaturels à notree époque celà est inadmissible.

    Like

  8. Allen permalink
    July 21, 2010 4:54 pm

    just another example of the works of the “sons of disobedience”. All they have is money, then after that “HELL FIRE” awaits them. That is why they have no compassion, no mercy. They are of the seed of a fallen angel, who was a murderer from the beginning.

    Separation is coming….for the wheat and the tares

    Like

  9. S. L. Trout permalink
    July 22, 2010 11:07 am

    For a man to carry out such a hideous, unthinkable act, he must be a spawn of the devil himself. No person with an ounch of sensitivity and respect could ever do such a thing.

    These demons walk among us. Many times they are disguised as messengers of wealth and good fortune. Beware!

    Like

  10. GIL MARQUIS permalink
    July 23, 2010 4:54 pm

    Wow….what a disgusting group of barbaric freaks. And this country asks us to send these pricks money? With what they make off sawing a living things face off feed your own Fing people. trash!

    Like

  11. Diane Iannicelli Campbell permalink
    July 23, 2010 4:57 pm

    I dont think i ever hated a group of people like I loath these african pocher trasy. They aught to all die. do this world a favor and die rotten miserable painful deaths. If I had it my way I would saw their genitalia off and make sure they felt it and I would do it as slowly and as sadistic as what they did to these poor rhinos.

    Rott in hell skum bags.

    And Im with gil. I see them commercials and I laugh. But I do cry when I see ASPCA commercials.

    Oh and when this bunch of disgusting dirty uneducated flee bitten slags die off take the chinese dog slaughtering japanese cat slaughtering culture with u

    Like

  12. Diane Iannicelli Campbell permalink
    July 23, 2010 5:01 pm

    Dear. S.L. Trout….your 100% right. And if nobody has heard there wre 3 6 month old pitbull puppys raped by their North Carolina owner. A father and son arrested for it before.

    One pup had to be put down immediately from internal bleeding the other 2 we are looking for a rescue and foster but they need extensive surgery to repair the vaginal walls that are torn and bleeding badly.

    The world sucks and humanity is the spawn of satan. I am ashamed to be a human being. I hate people. And the few caring like you make it tolerable to continue to associate with them.

    Good luck.

    Like

  13. Gaye Gamble permalink
    July 23, 2010 5:20 pm

    My heart is breaking! Why do they do this.. I will never understand the heartless beings who find pleasure from hurting and killing these innocent animals..

    Like

  14. Mary Beth permalink
    July 23, 2010 5:48 pm

    This is atrocious that this happened. The world is watching this as well and making their statements against this crime. There are webcams that can be put up to spot poachers with battery motion lights. These are God’s creatures not man’s. He gave them breath.

    Like

  15. Nola Ross1 permalink
    July 23, 2010 6:32 pm

    these poachers should feel the pain they inflict on creatures. all that we send into the lives of others, comes back into our own…

    Like

  16. tami elston permalink
    July 23, 2010 7:35 pm

    i wish someone would hurt them the way they hurt animals

    Like

  17. Tabitha permalink
    July 23, 2010 9:04 pm

    Bastards deserve to burn in hell!!!

    Like

  18. Roy permalink
    July 23, 2010 9:05 pm

    A shame… a true shame.

    Like

  19. Brosnan Lockesley permalink
    July 24, 2010 1:41 am

    prison is not good enough for these poachers, do unto them as they do to the Rhinos. Cut off their nose and penis, . lets see how they feel . I’ll do the cutting. Shame on the Asian countries, China is number one. Please contact me, I would love to be a Ranger. I would be with the Rhinos day and night. such beautiful creatures.

    Brosnan Lockesley

    Like

  20. Geoff Knight permalink
    July 24, 2010 5:14 am

    An abomination and a betrayal of humanity.

    Like

  21. Lucie Topas permalink
    July 24, 2010 10:25 am

    Can not express my feelings, I´m blind by tears. I just know, that I – a real pacifist person – like to shut them. I WANT THEM DEAD DEAD DEAD
    Asian Bastards again! God Damn fucked up race- yes call my racist now -i became one. I HATE ASIANS

    Like

  22. Rocio permalink
    July 25, 2010 12:21 am

    Horrible, Horrible, are inhumanos…

    Like

  23. ines vasquez-toth permalink
    July 25, 2010 4:37 pm

    this is an abomination , STOP these bastards!!!

    Like

  24. DAVE BEARD permalink
    July 25, 2010 5:37 pm

    GREAT WORK POACHERS,YOUVE KILLED THE LAST ONE, YOU MUST FEEL SO PROUD YOU FUCKING IDIOTS!!!!!!

    Like

  25. July 25, 2010 8:08 pm

    A fucking disgrace!!! Just because we have the power to do something, doesn’t make it right!!! My heart hurts for any animal at the mercy of man!!!! WTF is the world coming to???? ❤

    Like

  26. July 26, 2010 3:22 am

    Animals are beasts. Men are monsters

    Like

  27. July 28, 2010 8:44 pm

    Dear god in heaven. What’s happening to this world we live in. Scumbags raping little innocent puppies. What sick minds. I pray that they pay for what they did to those dear little puppies.

    Like

  28. JoJo Childs permalink
    August 3, 2010 11:17 pm

    Bloody Low Life Bastards. Curse them and their offspring.

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. Lucky break in rhino poaching case « Our Compass
  2. Rap Artist 50 Cent Asked to Sponsor Rhino « Our Compass

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