Rhino slaughtered for its horn in city park

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
August 13, 2013



In another sign that the rhino poaching crisis has gone out-of-control, Kenyan officials announced late last night that a pregnant rhino was poached in Nairobi National Park, which sits on the edge of Kenya's capital. Home to lions, leopard, giraffes and hippos in addition to rhinos, the park is known for its views of iconic wildlife flanked by Nairobi's skyline.

However, the park's proximity to a metropolis of three million did not stop a poachers on Friday from brazenly shooting a white rhino (Ceratotherium simum), cutting off its horn, and making a clean getaway. The rhino was discovered later by tourists. This is the first rhino poaching incident in the park in six years.

In total, Kenya has lost 35 rhinos this year to poachers, already besting last year's toll of 29. South Africa, where the rhino crisis is at its worst, has lost over 550 rhinos so far this year.

Rhinos are being killed en masse for their horns, which are ground into powder for traditional Chinese medicine despite the fact that science has found no medicinal benefits to the concoction.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has recently announced it will set up an elite force to combat poaching problems, dubbed the Elite Inter-Agency Anti-Poaching Unit. However, some experts say that anti-poaching efforts, while hugely important, won't be enough: more must be done to tackle the demand side in East Asia and the weak penalties poachers and smugglers face.

Of the world's five rhino species, three are considered Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List. White rhinos are the most populous in the world, but also due to this, the most commonly targeted by poachers.



White rhino in Kenya. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
White rhino in Kenya. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.















AUTHOR: Jeremy Hance joined Mongabay full-time in 2009. He currently serves as senior writer and editor. He has also authored a book.




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CITATION:
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (August 13, 2013).

Rhino slaughtered for its horn in city park.

http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0813-hance-rhino-nairobi.html