September 21st, 2010
09:33 AM ET

Rhino poaching ring busted

A total of 204 rhinos have reportedly been killed in South Africa this year.

Nine suspects in a major South African rhino poaching ring are due in court Wednesday after arrests Monday that targeted the leaders of a syndicate that sent the horns of the animals to the international black market, media reports said.

Among those arrested were two veterinarians who were believed to be the masterminds of the ring, according to a report from South Africa's Eyewitness News.

A game farmer and a dehorning specialist were also arrested Monday. Further arrests are expected, police said. "The arrest is a huge breakthrough. It came at the time when we are experiencing a huge outcry by our communities ... about rhino poaching," national police spokesman Vishnu Naidoo told the South African Broadcasting Corp.

A total of 204 rhinos have been killed in South Africa this year, SABC reported, including five in the past week.

That compares to 122 rhinos killed in all of 2009. According to South Africa's Kruger National Park, there were an estimated 19,409 white rhinos and 1,678 black rhinos in the entire country at the end of 2009.

Rhinos are sought for their horns, which are ground into powder and used in traditional Asian medicine, with China, Taiwan and South Korea being the major markets, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Full horns are also prized as dagger handles in Yemen.

The suspects' court appearances Wednesday will coincide World Rhino Day, sponsored by the WWF and allied organizations to bring attention to the plight of the rhinoceros. The group is seeking monetary donations and asking people around the world to blow their vuvuzelas at 1 p.m. Wednesday to show their support for the animals and for law enforcement agencies and park rangers trying to protect rhinos from poaching.

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Filed under: Africa
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Charlie

    If we could only convince the asians that some tiny part on a white-tailed deer would cure their ills maybe they'd come over here and poach them to endangerment

    September 21, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kraznodar

      Sounds like a good idea to me. Might even generate some income.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • kbaredge126c

      I've heard that taliban nuts, when roasted slowly while still attached, give the user remarkable powers. Please spread the word to all Asians. Cheers.

      September 21, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Terry

    This situation should have beed stoped a long time ago. And what did happen to the shoot on sight rule. Shooting these animals just for a horn that was wrong way back.

    September 21, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jojo9696

    Why doesn't someone just grind up some cattle hooves or something and call it rhino horns...who'd know the difference?

    September 21, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kraznodar

      The idiots that buy these horns are rich idiots and so would start testing the DNA to make sure it was legit.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BillShut

    Convict them, and then tell them their choice for punishment is either:
    1. be locked up with a group of rhinos, while wearing shoes that make a common lion sound every step you take in them (tag, anyone??)
    2. be locked up with a group of rhinos, while wearing the essence of a female rhino in heat.

    Either way, it would be entertaining, as well as educational, and might teach them the importance of respect to rhinos!!

    September 21, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • kbaredge126c

      But they would enjoy #2.

      September 21, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • transplanted

      ha, ha, ha, I like the way u arranged the letters in your handle !!!! hmmmmm, what else does that spell ? Cute.

      September 21, 2010 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jiminredstate

    Does everything have to be about the Tea Parties "dethroning" establishment republicans? Antidisestablishmentarianism, it's not your father's 60s word anymore...

    September 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joe

    It seems like with the flu's and traditional medicines of Asia there should be a major education push in those areas. Don't live with your ducks, chickens, and pigs – no more flu, and don't practice witchcraft since these traditional medicines are needed in the modern world.

    September 21, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. trhg

    the idea of cow hooves is brilliant. 1- saves an endangered species and 2-they're pure protein[think jello] god knows that they need food more than shamanry oh, and by the way matt. was the last line of your wedding- you may now kiss your sister?

    September 21, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. redwinghawk

    Hearing of this rhino ring bust makes my day. Nice to hear some good news.

    September 21, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Spencer Moore

    Nice to see some good news like this!

    September 21, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. lore

    if you visit animalsasia.org you will see asians use all animals even pet cat and dog as food Bears are raised in cages so small they can never turn around all for the bile to use in asian medicine.

    September 21, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ronnie

    I hope these digusting monsters, not only rot and get tortured in jail, but then die and go to HELL. These are the kind of monsters that are ruining our planet. This really sickens me.

    September 21, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sam

    Unfortunately, we as Americans are no better in protecting our animals. And yes, I agree that these poachers and the people that they cater to them should be executed in the same way that they are exterminating what remains of the world's animal kingdom. But, until we understand what impact our own selfish, ignorant, lazy (or whatever you want to label it) reasons are for not standing up, recognizing and protecting our own American wildlife (or your own pet cat/dog/horse, whatever), then IMHO, we have no credibility to point the finger at others! It's easier to blame others pathetic treatment of those who cannot defend themselves than to look squarly and honestly at ourselves and start there!

    September 21, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • o.o

      i agree with you 100% we all say how angry we are and how we feel sad for the animals yet we dont do a thing to make it better

      September 22, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MARK

    Mmmmmmmm.....Poached Rhino, sounds delicious!

    September 21, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • transplanted

      mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, barbequed Mark, now that a winner ! Must marinate first 4 24 hrsin butter milk, to rid the meat of that wild smell, u know, like venison !!!LOL

      September 21, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lord Bob Fates

    Me need stiffy – me need chubby – quickie, quickie – kill endangered species NOW

    September 21, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. transplanted

    I will blow my vuvuzela at !pm Houston time.

    September 21, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
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