Not a Good Time to Be a Rhino in South Africa
South Africa officials said 333 rhinos were poached in 2010, nearly three times as many that were lost in 2009. Another five rhinos were killed in the first several weeks of 2011. The increased demand for the rhino horn as a cure for impotence in Asian countries or as a ceremonial dagger in Middle Eastern countries has fueled the latest killings. In neighboring Zimbabwe, another seven rhinos have been murdered in the past month. This is not some random shooting by locals. Zimbabwean park rangers said the poaching is so sophisticated now that the villains are using helicopters and light aircraft to land, get their treasured horn, and fly away. They are well organized and funded by big money syndicates. Equipped with night vision goggles and a slew of artillery, this new breed of poacher will be hard to stop. Expect the 21,000 rhinos in South Africa, the most of any country, to dwindle quickly if the government can’t provide the resources to do battle with these criminals.