287 rhinos killed by poachers in South Africa this year, World Wildlife Fund says
A veterinarian tends to a rhino left badly wounded by poachers last month on a reserve north of Cape Town, South Africa.
September 21st, 2011
12:39 PM ET

287 rhinos killed by poachers in South Africa this year, World Wildlife Fund says

Poachers have killed 287 rhinos in South Africa this year, including 16 critically endangered black rhinos, the World Wildlife Fund reported Wednesday.

South Africa is home to the majority of the world's rhinos, and the 271 African white rhinos killed there this year represent 1.3% of the entire population of the animals, the conservation group said.

The rhinos are killed for their horns, which are used in traditional medicine in Asia, including a misplaced belief they can cure cancer, according to the group.

"Demand for rhino horn and elephant ivory is threatening to destroy a large part of Africa’s natural heritage. We want to see illegal markets for these products in Asia shut down for good,” Morné du Plessis, CEO of WWF-South Africa, said in a statement on the eve of World Rhino Day on Thursday.

Officials from Vietnam and China, where rhino horns are in demand, will travel to South Africa this month to discuss how to cooperate on poaching investigations, the fund said.

South Africa has arrested more than 165 people in connection with rhino poaching this year, sending some of those convicted to prison for up to 12 years, according to the group. Eleven more poaching suspects are scheduled to go on trial in a South African court next week. They include veterinarians, safari operators and a pilot.

"South African authorities are taking rhino poaching very seriously and are beginning to dismantle the sophisticated criminal gangs that are behind the killings,” Joseph Okori, the fund’s African rhino program manager, said in a statement.

The wildlife group estimates there are 28,038 rhinos left in the world - 20,000 African white rhinos, 4,838 African black rhinos and 3,200 Asian rhinos.

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Filed under: Animals • Crime • Rhinos • South Africa
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. bobcat2u

    Maybe we should send all of our RINOs over there.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonny

      Or just start poaching republicants here.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    I'm actually amazed, given the difficulty of getting real rhino horn and elephant tusk, and the criminal nature of the people involved in the trade, that they even bother to poach the animals. Wouldn't it be more cost effective to fake the horn and tusk material?

    September 21, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    Well, the officials from Viet Nam and China should work on educating people who believe in these archaic myths and make it criminal to possess and sell these items.
    Well done, South Africa.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • You Are Absolutly Right

      Every country in the world should work on educating people who believe in archaic myths.
      Think of all the space we would save without all of the religious buildings everywhere.

      September 22, 2011 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  4. david burns

    I would guess memebers of the NRA, the Safari Club, and others would volunteer to come over and ride the rhino areas to catch or dispose of poachers. Maybe the governments effected could place a bounty on the poachers where the funds would then go into an account to help the rhinos. These folks would be an excellent resource to tap into.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. orifice

    Huh...asians killing endangered species for phony remedies.......go figure.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dan

    Shocking that people with the smallest equipment have such a compulsion to try to make it bigger, even if that means killing endangered animals.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reading is Fundamental

      Shocking that people with the smallest brains have such a compulsion to try to make them seem bigger, even if that means not reading the article.
      "The rhinos are killed for their horns, which are used in traditional medicine in Asia, including a misplaced belief they can cure cancer, according to the group."
      Unless you think curing cancer makes your 'equipment' bigger your an idiot.
      And if you think that curing cancer makes your "equipment' bigger your an idiot.
      Come to think of it your just an idiot.

      September 22, 2011 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
  7. We learn from nature

    When an mother elephant is poached, her baby becomes an orphan and the herd cares for the baby. But if that baby turns-out to be a jeuvenile delinquent and starts attacking friendly rhino's, the herds matriarch (oldest/wisest female) will litterally stomp the delinquent to death...natures "death penalty" being upheld. Some learn from this, while others learn to become chronic masturbators by watching apes play with themselves at zoos. The avid masturbators oppose the death penalty, and have literally devided this nation in two.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      Half-witted american bringing politics into a story like this...are you people really that boring and shallow? Perhaps I misread your post and you are just into bestiality.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bimbo the Birthday Clown

      What in the name of @%$& are you babbling about?

      September 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Please excuse him.

      He was beaten as a child.
      Just not enough

      September 22, 2011 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
  8. Lara

    Asian people killing animals for pleasure and greed? I'm so shocked!

    September 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dr House

      Maybe South Africa should deport all of the Asians from their country, that would stop the problem dead in its tracks.....
      Oh wait, its not Asians killing the Rhinos, Its South Africans.
      Rascist Much?

      September 22, 2011 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dribble

    No, just THAT half-witted American. Don't lump everyone into his perv pool. Thanks.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dribble

    How does an elephant become a chronic masterbators? How does a rhino become a chronic masterbators? I'll be damned if I see any relevance to this story!

    September 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bobcat2u

    My above post was really uncalled for. I apologize to all.

    I've never understood the killing of animals for only like their horns or tusks etc., and leave the carcass to rot. Same thing was happening here in the US in the 1800s when people were killing the bison for no more than their pelts or for the "sportsman" to have a trophy picture taken with his kill. Then leave the carcass to rot. This was a food source for our native americans. I guess the only reason they would give for doing this is, Beacause I can.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Richard

    It is very depressing to hear this. But the reality is the Chinese would grind up babies if they thought they could make a profit, right now they only poison babies for profit. Killing Rhino's to make a powder to rub on their private parts is not very surprising.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joe

    Nothing in the article said that asians use it to rub on their private parts.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Richard

    Why waste time and money on arresting these poachers. If you want to crack down on this illegal activity, let nature literally deal with the poachers... with some help from the authorities. When the poachers are caught, identify them, post their picture on a web site with the crime they committed, such as in this article – killing rinos for their horns – and then release them back into the wild, with no provisions nor clothing, by an area know to have hyenas, lions, leapards, etc. Then the local populance will deal with them approprately. The poachers will be tried through he laws of the land – Survival of the Fittest – with no weapons other than themselves. If you think that this maybe extreme and cruel, well maybe it is. Now think about all the rinos that were killed for their horns, no doubt the poachers used rifles to kill them. Is it fair for the rinos then? Killing an animal for food to survive is part of the circle of life, killing many for profit is not, especially when majority of the animal is left to rot. If the poachers think they are tough, then let them show it, using the method I mentioned earlier in my comment. This will show that the authorities are serious about this crime and hopefully deter any more poaching.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Roy Simpson

    If WWF is a news agency, i don't mind this news coming from them.
    The world should know why WWF is letting this happen and coming out to report to us this sad news while they live on the sponsor money in a FIVE star way and they all have very great SWISS life, very comfortably in Switzerland.
    What to do they care about?
    Making a living sucking into your money.
    Sad though!
    Roy Simpson

    September 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
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