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article imageKruger National Park to evacuate rhinos for their own protection

By Karen Graham     Jul 21, 2014 in Environment
Nearly 280 rhinos have already been killed in South Africa's Kruger National Park this year, and park officials are considering a unique plan to protect the endangered animals. In order to "spread the risk," they are thinking of moving the rhinos.
The proposal to move some of the rhinos out of South Africa's prestigious Kruger National Park may prove to be a necessity because the park has been heavily targeted by poachers said park spokesman William Mabasa on Monday. No decision on the move has been reached at this time and there isn't any guarantee that another park would be any safer because "poachers are going everywhere," he said.
Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa, covering 7,580 sq. miles. Many poachers having been coming into the park from Mozambique, its neighbor to the East. The park's vastness makes it almost impossible to cover with the limited aerial surveillance available to the parks officers.
About 560 rhinoceros have been killed in South Africa so far this year, with about half of the killings taking place in the northeastern section of the park. So far this year, 160 alleged poachers have been arrested.
Recorded number of rhino poached in South Africa
Recorded number of rhino poached in South Africa
S.A. Department of Environmental Affairs
Kruger National Park is home to around 70 percent of the world's rhinos. In 2009, the park had 350 critically endangered black rhinos and somewhere between 7.000 and 12,000 white rhinos. In 2013, the park lost a record 1,004 rhinos due to poaching, based on government figures.
Kruger wildlife officials have a lot of experience in moving rhinos, sometimes moving them to other reserves within South Africa or sending an occasional rhino to a private reserve or conservation agencies outside the country. Mabasa said in the 1960s, Kruger received some rhinos from what is today KwaZulu-Natal province, south of the park.
On Sunday, the South African Press Association reported that five poachers, including one who had been injured in an exchange of gun-fire, have been arrested at a game reserve in KwaZulu-Nata. When arrested, the five were in possession of an unlicensed hunting rifle, ammunition, a silencer and an axe. They are facing charges of illegal hunting and attempted murder,
Trade in rhino horn is big business, with international crime syndicates being heavily involved in every aspect of the enterprise. It may come as a surprise to many, but Vietnam is the driving force behind the recent surge in demand. There is such a great demand for rhino horn in Vietnam that it is more valuable than gold. About 2.2 pounds of rhino horn fetches anywhere from $65,000 to $100,000.
At the beginning of the 20th century there were 500 000 rhinos; in 1970 there were 70 000; today  th...
At the beginning of the 20th century there were 500,000 rhinos; in 1970 there were 70,000; today, there are fewer than 29,000 rhinos surviving in the wild. 95% of all the rhinos in the world have now been killed. Taken at private game farm in Gauteng, South Africa.
Hein waschefort
If anyone wonders who in the world could afford such exorbitant prices, it's the newly-rich millionaires along with a persistant rumor that sprang up in Vietnam in the mid-2000's claiming a Vietnamese business had been cured of cancer by drinking an elixir containing rhino horn powder. The rumor is still alive and well today.
As far as the number of millionaires, over the past five years in Vietnam, there has been a 150 percent increase in the number of millionaires in the country. The Convention on the International Trade on Endangered Species says that the burgeoning influx of wealthy Vietnamese is "inflating a bubble of demand for rhino horn." The use of rhino horn as a "cure" for cancer is sought out by many in Vietnam because of the high rate of cancer in the population, with over 150,000 new cases every year.
More about Rhinos, Kruger national park, Poachers, rhino horn, Vietnam
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