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. termlimits

    Have 'em spread eagle and "dehorn them"!!

    September 21, 2010 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. dj

    if there are less than 2,000 left, both species combined, then where do they plan on getting more rhino horns at for their precious medicine once they kill them all? and does anybody know what medicinal purpose rhino horns have? Should we all make a mad rush to get meds made from these rhino horns? Maybe that's what is wrong with everybody, rhino horn deficiency! Quick, corner the market! WE NEED RHINO HORN MEDICINE TO CURE US. Or kill us. I would think they would realize that this isn't exactly a continious fast paced renewable resource n would leave the rhinos alone to help their numbers to increase. Kiss another wild animal goodbye from the face of a dying planet.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • bullfeathers

      Rhino horns have the same medicinal properties as hair and horse hooves. None.

      September 21, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. deac

    what is it with these asians using pieces and parts from nearly extinct animals? maybe we should start using asians for some medicinal purposes

    September 21, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Kraznodar

      In this case it is Asians. In the next case it will be someone somewhere else. A lot of species were endangered by Americans demanding rare animals until the feds cracked down on it.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      I agree deac, I'm so sick of the Chinese. They need Rhino horns, Shark Fins, Tiger balls or whatever the hell they want from the tiger. Its just madness. Until they want to become a civilized nation working with other nations I say we kick them back to the curb and stop buying their goods and get read of that "friendlist nation" status.

      September 21, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChicagoGrad

      Jim, the Chinese government tries to crack down on this stuff, but when they do, they are often accused by the West of violating human rights. A good example of this is with Tigers and Tibetans. In Tibetan society, no article of clothing has a higher status than a tiger skin, although other big cat skins are also desireable. Tibetans believe eating tiger meat and wearing its skin will endow the diner/wearer the strength of a tiger. Tibetans living in India are the main poachers of tigers in that country. But if the Chinese government tries to crack down on smuggling inside China, they are accused of "cultural genocide" of the Tibetan people.

      September 21, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      Reply to Diac. Hahahahaha that's great. Perhaps we should.

      September 22, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Carl

    dj, the poepl who make money selling these illegal animal parts could acre less about the future – they deal in the now and the immediate gain. That is what makes them so dangerous.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  5. Lusa

    People in this world are money hungry and dont care what or who they trample on just to get what they want.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. WJ

    What happened to the shoot on sight policy?

    September 21, 2010 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • IMHO

      Cretin. You are definitely part of the problem.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kraznodar

      Matt – I'm not a liberal or a conservative. I do however, think you are just posting whatever will make people mad. For that reason I value a rat over you. I hate rats.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedarrapids

      'Your a typical tree hugging liberal. You value animal life over human life'

      Nah Matt, just over the lives of people like yourself, each and every time.

      September 21, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • cartwrighteous

      hi cedarrapids. i'm a conservative. i choose human life over animal life, but poachers are animals. shoot on sight. they're sick. poaching is disgusting. killing an animal for a horn. ditto with frontierman who killed buffalo for just their hides. it's wrong. people that are grossly destroying a species for illegal and personal gain are no better than the animals they're killing.

      carry on..

      September 21, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • cartwrighteous

      sorry, cedarrapids. i see you were quoting matt. his post was gone.

      September 21, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bellah

    i dont understand that if it is just the horn they want why they cant just tranquilize them and get it. why do they have to kill them?? makes me sad that there is even a market for this stuff! why the heck with all the modern meds that work wonders would ANYONE want to use rhino horn that costs 3 times as much and doesnt work. at the rate this is going my kids wont even know what these previous animals are.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • WJ

      Indigenous medicine makes you stupid and unable to rationalize?

      September 21, 2010 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Kraznodar

      WJ – there is a big difference between indigenous medicine and total BS. Some indigenous medicines do work somewhat. Using Rhino horns is pretty much like eating toenail clippings. I call that BS.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • JFairweather

      Krsaznodar: Aspirin was originally developed from tree bark.

      September 21, 2010 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tinsoldier

    Just another shinning moment for the grand human race. So much for "stewardship". Maybe they should just allow aerial hunting with no bag limits like we do for the last remaining wolves in Alaska, and get it over with.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. John

    Rino horns, tiger penis', is there anything these people won't eat? I bet if they executed these poachers it might discourage others from killing these rare animals illegally.

    September 21, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • cartwrighteous

      a dream, my friend. we execute murderers and yet there are new homicides every day.

      September 21, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dave

    Rhino horn and "traditional medicinals" from other endangered species aren't in the original pharmacopoeia of Chinese medicine. They are later additions that have little to no true medical value, but rather have been sold through the years by profiteers who claim all sorts of miracle cures. They really shouldn't be considered as belonging to the traditional medicine at all – that is kind of a farce. It is a sad part of the dark side of modern Asian culture. The herb medicine tradition stemming from the 3rd century has none of these products, yet is highly effective, saving lives even today in some modern Chinese hospitals when Western medicine fails to bring about results.

    September 21, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. matt

    Ummm Why was comment about shooting wolves for fun deleted??? Cnn is very liberal. Typical.

    September 21, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • PAW

      Then go back to Fox news where they attract your brand of ignorance and stupidity.

      September 21, 2010 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. matt

    Being gaayy is wrong and unethical as is shooting that many rhinos.

    September 21, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • transplanted

      .... ?????? ..... !!!! ? where did the gaay thing come in at ? what 1 got 2 do with the other ?

      @ Patrick, funyyyy ! the lid thing. I only pray that since u do kill, it's 4 your own consumption.

      September 21, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. nancheska

    2 veterinarians were the masterminds of this ring? great.

    September 21, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rob

    They need to open a season on poachers. I'd love to kill these pieces of sh!#

    September 21, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • matt

      They need to open up a season on tree huggers tooo!!!! Ha hahahahah!! Bwahahhahahah!!

      September 21, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AB

    matt: the coyote you plan on killing is worth more than your human life. Killing an animal and then wasting it is just killing for the power play. What else do you abuse?

    September 21, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • matt

      Coyotes and wolves are just trouble in these here parts. They are feral vermins that need to be culled.

      September 21, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • transplanted

      I so totally agree, I am unanimous in that.

      September 21, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • transplanted

      that is, AB I agree with !!!!!

      September 21, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
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