This is Disgusting!
Ounce for ounce, rhino horns sell for more than gold – one reason why conservationists say Africa's rhinos are facing their worst poaching crisis in decades.
Organized crime syndicates have killed than 800 African rhinos in the past three years alone, the Swiss-based International Union for Conservation of Nature said Friday.
Rhino horns are in great demand globally, particularly in Southeast Asia, ground up for use as alleged aphrodisiacs and in traditional medicines or turned into decorative dagger handles.
Poachers are now using helicopters, night-vision goggles and high-powered rifles to hunt and kill the plant-eating, poor-sighted rhinos – equipment even African wildlife officials can't afford.
Poaching of the two different species of African rhinos is on the rise in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya, due to well-equipped and sophisticated crime gangs, and has also decimated the three other rhino species that inhabit Asia, the group said.
"Although good biological management and anti-poaching efforts have led to modest population gains for both species of African rhino, we are still very concerned about the increasing involvement of organized criminal poaching networks,"
a scientific officer with IUCN said.
South Africa has more than 90 percent of the world's rhino population. White rhinos are the biggest of the rhino family, weighing as much as 6,000 pounds.
[Image via WENN.]
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