Score One For Pachyderms: Elephant Tramples Poacher To Death

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According to a report by Zimbabwe’s Sunday Mail, a poacher was trampled to death by the very elephant he was attempting to kill.“Now that’s what you call Karma; shame it doesn’t happen more often!”

The report said Magunje police found the remains of Solomon Manjoro fourteen days ago in Charara National Park, Gatshe-Gatshe, Kariba after a friend of his was arrested on allegations of possessing firearms illegally.

Manjoro was reportedly trampled by an elephant after he failed to shoot it during a hunting expedition. He, along with his 29-year-old friend Noluck Tafuruka, allegedly visited Charara National Park for the sole purpose of poaching between April 19 and 29.

Poachers kill elephants to collect ivory, which is sold on the black market and often smuggled into Asian countries to be used in ornaments and jewellery. Ivory sales were banned back in 1989 when poaching for the valuable substance halved the remaining number of African elephants in the 1980s.

Just recently, 26 elephants were massacred in the Dzanga Bai World Heritage Site in the Central African Republic. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said 17 individuals armed with Kalashnikov rifles entered an area locally known as the “village of elephants” with the intention to kill the large animals. This area reportedly hosts between 50 and 200 elephants each day. The WWF said that since the poachers arrived, no elephants have been seen in the area.

“The brutal violence we are witnessing in Dzanga Bai threatens to destroy one of the world´s great natural treasures, and to jeopardize the future of the people who live there,” said Jim Leape, WWF International Director General. “The Central African Republic must act immediately to secure this unique World Heritage site.”

He said the international community needs to step up to help assist the Central African Republic to restore peace in the area and safeguard the elephant population.

“WWF also asks Cameroon and the Republic of Congo to assist the Central African Republic in preserving this World Heritage Site, which not only encompasses the Bai, but also includes large neighbouring areas of these two countries,” Leape said. “The events in Dzanga Bai are a vivid reminder of the existential threat faced by forest elephants in Central Africa. Populations of this species have plummeted 62 per cent over the past ten years.”

report by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) found that the elephant population in DRC has dropped by 37 percent in the last five years due to ivory poaching. The survey found that 75 percent of the reserve’s elephant population has been killed in the last 15 years.

News Link:http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1112844919/elephant-tramples-poacher-to-death-zimbabwe-051313/

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Italian man mauled to death by three tigers in closed-down zoo

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A 72-year-old man was killed by three tigers in a closed-down zoo in northern Italy after he entered the animals’ cage to feed them, according to media reports.

Tigers relax in their enclosure at the private park in Pinerolo near Turin Photo: EPA/ALESSANDRO DI MARCO

The zoo, in the mountainous area of Pinerolo near Turin, was closed due to financial difficulties in 2009 and its owners had not managed to relocate nine tigers and one leopard kept there, the Corriere della Sera daily reported.

The tigers attacked the zoo’s caretaker suddenly as he was feeding them, and his wife raised the alarm, state broadcaster RAI said. Emergency services confirmed his death at the scene

Locals had previously expressed concerns about the tigers, which were not sterilised and recently had cubs.

Edited for Telegraph.co.uk by Barney Henderson

News Link:-http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/10156624/Italian-man-mauled-to-death-by-three-tigers-in-closed-down-zoo.html

Update on Borko: K9 Rescue Bulgaria Borko Has Wheels Now!

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“Remember the sad story of Borko, the little disabled street puppy taken in by Dr. Litov in Bulgaria? A Lynch Mob and the Media staged a shameful act of barbaric abuse on the dog & used intimidation in order to force the village Doctor, out of his home and work, only because he is helping the strays in the village, where there is no vet and no shelter. Well thankfully there’s good news on Borko… Dr. Litov went to court regards the above & threat of eviction!  Read on, K9 Rescue still need help in their mission to help the voiceless street animals!”

Borko As He Was

PLEASE share my story and let the world know that the Government in Bulgaria are not enforcing laws against acts of animal cruelty and that they are allowing kind people who help animals like me to be persecuted and removed from their home.

Viewer Discretion – Bulgaria: Lynch Mob Beats Defenceless Crippled Doggy — Police do Nothing

Published on 29 Mar 2013

PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION:https://www.change.org/petitions/just…

I know it may be difficult to watch, but please watch my video and share my page; we really need all the help we can get.

Facebook page:-https://www.facebook.com/DisabledBorkoNeedsHelp?fref=ts

Video Link:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCnRYYxzaro

Borko is doing great, he now has his wheelchair and adores running around in it!  Check out his latest video below… ♥

Borko Has Wheels

Our media trip to Bulgaria is planned for June where together with Wetnose Animal Aid and Norton Animal Rescue Foundation, we will bring Justice for Borko with a film crew and British presenters Lorraine Chase and Wendy Turner Webster to highlight the plight of dogs like Borko and make a documentary about the animal welfare situation in Bulgaria and what can be done about it.

In other news, Dr Litov had his first court victory on 25th April when the Judge suspended the eviction notice, until the end of the trial, and now this week at the Administrative Court, the Regional Health Authority Inspector gave evidence and confirmed that all inspections carried out in the last few years showed no violations justifying an eviction.

The Court’s final ruling will be at the end of June, so please sign and keep sharing our Justice 4 Borko petition – we have 56k signatures so far – we need to aim for a target of 100k signatures for it to be taken seriously by the Government. Borko and all the abused animals deserve our support!  Thank you! ♥

Borko gets his wheels!!

Published on 31 May 2013

If anyone would like to contribute towards the Media Campaign Expenses, please use the link below – thank

News Link:http://www.k9-rescue.org.uk/borko-has-wheels/

Related News Link:-https://preciousjules1985.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/graphic-video-justice-for-disabled-borko-punish-the-man-who-savagely-beat-him-in-his-own-home/

Graphic Videos; Please Sign Petition – Circus Of Horrors In Moscow

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PLEASE NOTE…THE FOLLOWING HAS BEEN TRANSLATED FROM RUSSIAN TO ENGLISH!!

 NOTE VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED ON VIDEO

International Day of the circus. Russian circus cruelty

BACKSTAGE CIRCUS – Investigation “Vita” 2012-2013. VIDEO: VITA-TV Online , YouTube 

Please sign – Petition link:http://www.avaaz.org/fr/petition/Le_dresseur_MOURAD_ABDULLAEV_doit_etre_puni_pour_la_cruaute_envers_les_animaux_et_interdit_dexercer_ce_metier

“Viewer Discretion Advised; I am not ashamed to say I screamed, cursed & cried whilst watching the following videos. No human being has the right to take a wild animal, beat it & deprive it of food etc. to make it perform pathetic tricks; all under the illusion of love & kindness, so as to entertain the paying public. Human greed knows no bounds when it comes to exploiting the voiceless species, whom we share this planet with…which is why animal advocates must stand up & speak for them!!”

Behind the scenes of the circus. Investigation “Vita” 2012-2013. Part 1.

vitatv

Published on 17 Apr 2013

On the World Circus Day “VITA” publishes investigation “Behind the scenes of the circus” 2012-2013 gg 
all “heroes” video – Honored Artist of Russia, Russian State Circus.Full text of collaborators story “Vita” Part 2.http://www.vita.org.ru/new/2013/apr/1 … All the collected footage, excerpts of which can be seen here, “VITA” directs the prosecutor’s office, insisting on criminal cases on the facts of torture animals.http://www.vita.org.ru/new/2013/apr/2 … See film “The Circus: The Illusion of Love”. http://www.vita.org.ru/video/razvlvid … Petition against the use of animals in circuses – FOR CIRCUS WITHOUT CRUELTYPetition Online VITA: http://www.vita.org.ru/petition Friends, if you have on Youtube videos not loading, see it on the site VITA: http://www.vita.org.ru/new / 2013/apr/1 … 

 Centers for animal rightsVITA” congratulates all the good and fun people in the world who love this wonderful art – to make people happy!Tightrope walkers, jugglers, clowns, acrobats, strongmen, gymnasts, jugglers – in the twenty-first century, the circus is no place … only trained animals! After all, the atmosphere of joy can not be kept where there are slaves and oppression.

In civilized countries, taming animals clearly perceived as a bad taste, and most Europeans prefer circuses without violence. In Russia, unfortunately, circuses with animals are considered traditional entertainment and trainers continue to spread the myth of the humanity of their profession.

But once all the secret becomes clear! To dispel the myth of humanity circuses with animals we had a unique investigation, first implemented in Russia. During the year (2012-2013) cameras recorded the event in one of the typical circus, which was set up to work activist “Vita”.

Search Circus was performed spontaneously, it is found that the selected circus is considered one of the best circuses in Russia. The investigation was conducted solely for the

Charlie beat the rehearsals

purpose of the public – to convey to the Russians accurate information on the status of animals in the circus and circus dressage, which a priori is never humane.

“I took this step, knowing that this is the only thing that I can help animals – circuses prisoners – said an employee of” Vita “XXXXXXX. – People need only TRUTH that this age-old industry, based on tyranny collapsed like a house of cards . idillisticheskie My idea of ​​the circus changed when I was in his time behind the scenes of the circus in his hometown. I am sorry that at that time I was not in possession of the camera.

Indeed, the best evidence – it’s captured video, which, as I have been able to thoroughly study,

Kangaroo Charlie died in captivity circus

there is little about the Russian circuses. A second reason that I got a job in the circus – my desire to deeply explore the mentality of the public okolotsirkovoy – circus performers, staff, visitors – from the inside to understand the ways of solving the problem. This experience gave me a lot of food for thought …

Honored sadistic artist; Russian Murad Abdullaev.

“Johnny the monkey from the video surveys his broken fingers; caused by the sadistic beatings of trainer Murad Abdullaev. I wouldn’t mind breaking a few of his bones & horse whipping him, so he knows how much it hurts…the cruel evil bastard shouldn’t be allowed near any animals; let alone train them!”

Johnny – Broken Fingers From Training Beatings

From the account of the employee “Vita” XXXXXXX:

• “My children’s ideas about the circus changed once I got behind the scenes of Saratov circus …”
• “One day we came to the classmate, but the watch we were asked to wait a little, well,

Charlies Farewell Glance Before he died

now there are shot the bear, for the fact that he attacked the trainer … ”
• “One of the haunting moments – a bear, gone mad, pushes down on the bottom of the cage and byuschayasya her head on the low ceiling. As the ball ping-pong table. Only a measured boom-boom-boom for hours …”
• ” The sun, the sky, the people on the streets … and, on the other hand – the cells, the cries of animals, confined space from which there is no escape … ”
• “unbearable atmosphere of concentration camps. Claustrophobic. life in a concentration camp in the 21st century. With joy and smiles around ”
• “Before the next training Johnny – survey traces after yesterday’s beating, probed – everything is intact? – … and the new – the violence, beatings, Johnny cries of pain, the trainer mat …”
• “In the cells of animals spend all remaining from rehearsals, training and performances while – approximately 23 hours a day. ”

Full Text

All the collected footage, excerpts of which can be seen here , “VITA” sends to the prosecutor , insisting on bringing criminal cases related to torture animals.

International Day of the circus. Russian circus cruelty

BACKSTAGE CIRCUS – Investigation “Vita” 2012-2013. VIDEO: VITA-TV Online , YouTube

Behind the scenes of the circus. Investigation “Vita” 2012-2013. Part 2 

Please note viewer discretion is advised.

Published on 21 Apr 2013

CRUELTY TO ANIMALS IN RUSSIAN CIRCUS 
behind the scenes of the circus. Investigation “Vita” 2012-2013.Part 2. “Education” Kuzya. 
See Part 1: http://www.vita.org.ru/new/2013/apr/1 … All the “heroes” of video – Honored Artist of Russia, Russian State Circus. 
employee of the full text of the story, “Vita” XXXXXXX: http:// www.vita.org.ru/new/2013/apr/1 … 
All the collected footage, excerpts of which can be seen here, “VITA” directs the prosecutor’s office, insisting on bringing criminal cases related to torture animals. 
Centre for Animal Rights ” VITA “blames exorbitant cruelty honored artists of Russia http://www.vita.org.ru/new/2013/apr/2 …
See the movie “The Circus: The Illusion of Love”.http://www.vita.org. ru / video / razvlvid …

In Movie Clip – is the best way to wean people lie, hiding behind the mask of love and virtue. After all, no trainer never voluntarily talk about what is going on behind the scenes. Outsiders were not allowed there, and if invited, will show “majeure” image “- says the president of the Center animal rights” VITA “Irina Novozhilova.

“Today, I am sorry that I took part in the project” Circus of the Stars “in the role of tamer, but now I understand well, – says Olga Shelest – why circus animals do not raise a paw on his trainer. Because when they were little, their beaten with sticks so that they are afraid to disobey the trainer at all. ” (From an interview for the film “The Circus: The Illusion of Love” ).

“I appeal to everyone who trusts me: do not go to the circus, where there are animals, In Tashkent circus told me about how dogs thrown against a wall, and one trainer during rehearsals injured cow-elephant’s uterus! Can you imagine what they are doing? ” – Says Lyme Vajkule.

Web link, were all above information was taken from. Please visit the link to read more about this circus of horrors:-http://www.vita.org.ru/new/2013/apr/17.htm#v

“Illusion of Love” The film awarded the V International Festival “Steps” (2012) for best documentary on animal rights in the “See this inconvenient truth.”

The film tells about the history of circuses with animals, the fate of animals in captivity, the cruelty of dressage, the development of the global movement against the use of animals in circuses, etc. FILM: The Circus: the illusion of love

Petition text:-

To: State Duma, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Education of Russia, Moscow Mayor, the Governor of St. Petersburg, the artistic director of Circus on Fontanka Slava Polunin

Objective: To complete the legislative ban on the use of animals in circus acts in Russia

The use of wild animals in circuses and other entertainment events associated with the forcible seizure of their natural, natural habitat, they are denied the most expensive – of liberty, forced to perform various tricks against their will, all in the name of entertainment, fun and comfort of man.

At that time, as the civilized countries have adopted legislation prohibiting participation and taming animals in entertainment, in Russia the use of animals in circuses is not regulated by any legislation. The only attempt to adopt the Federal Law “On Protection of Cruelty to Animals,” which was a section for the protection of animals used in circuses was a fiasco in 2000.

Cruelty to animals and, as a consequence, to the people, for the existence of society becomes rampant, because it is absolutely unpunished due to the gap in the law.

We, the undersigned, demand urgently adopt the Federal Law “On Protection of Cruelty to Animals.” Please sign petition:-http://www.vita.org.ru/petition/

Link to other video Illusion Of Love:– http://www.vita.org.ru/video/razvlvideo/circus-illusion-of-love.htm

“Please note the following are videos are what I found whilst looking at the above; Its never ending torture for the poor animals. Please, don’t support circuses who perform with live animals. Those animals only do the tricks through fear of pain, hunger & beatings!”

CIRCUS BEAR – HOW HE LIVES WHEN NOT IN THE SHOW!!

Uploaded on 6 Jul 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=B3uaYziiI7g

 

Circus with animals: cruelty to animals and cheating the audience. NTV

Published on 27 May 2013

On the World Circus Day “VITA” publishes investigation “Behind the scenes of the circus” 2012-2013 gg 
all “heroes” video – Honored Artist of Russia, Russian State Circus.Full text of collaborators story “Vita” Part 2.http://www.vita.org.ru/new/2013/apr/1 … All the collected footage, excerpts of which can be seen here, “VITA” directs the prosecutor’s office, insisting on criminal cases on the facts of torture animals.http://www.vita.org.ru/new/2013/apr/2 … See film “The Circus: The Illusion of Love”. http://www.vita.org.ru/video/razvlvid … Petition against the use of animals in circuses – FOR CIRCUS WITHOUT CRUELTY! Petition Online VITAhttp://www.vita.org.ru/petition Friends, if you have on Youtube videos not loading, see it on the site VITA: http://www.vita.org.ru/new / 2013/apr/1 … VITA: Animal sruelty Investigation in the Russian Circus http://www.vita.org.ru/english/news.htm

Peñitas Police Believe Poisoning Behind Deaths of Dozen Dogs Over Weekend

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May 14th – PEÑITAS — Authorities suspect someone targeted dogs in a Peñitas neighborhood with tainted meat this weekend, leaving 12 animals dead and one apparently recovering, police Chief Roel Bermea said.

GOT A TIP? Anyone with information about this or any other crime is urged to call the Peñitas Police Department at (956) 583-0050.

The Police Department is asking the public to provide any information that might lead to an arrest in connection to the crimes. Bermea said the first call to police about a dog believed to be poisoned and killed came in about 1 p.m. Sunday.

 Soon thereafter, four more calls regarding dead pets came in and, eventually, investigating officers found the total dead reached at least a dozen, the chief said. Nine dogs were found dead Sunday and three more were discovered Monday.

“Never,” Bermea said when asked whether he had encountered such a situation before. “This is a first for me. There’s somebody out there doing this.”

In many cases, the Mother’s Day holiday was dampened as families arrived home to find their pets, often thought of as members of the family, dead, he said. It appears the suspected poisonings were concentrated on three streets in a neighborhood near 3 Mile Line and Liberty Boulevard where dogs ran loose, he added.

Officers have found some meat they believe is contaminated and connected to the deaths, but continue to try to find evidence linking them together.

The chief said one citizen who found their dog seriously ill was able to feed it milk and bread after calling a local veterinarian, who advised the animal might have been poisoned.

The dog is recovering, he said. Police are still canvassing the area, but residents don’t seem to know much, the chief said.

If an arrest in the case is made, the suspect can expect to face at least one count of animal cruelty per death, he said.

“We’re asking the public to see if they have any information to let us know,” Bermea said. “We’re actually trying to find out what happened.”

Jacqueline Armendariz covers education for The Monitor. She can be reached atjarmendariz@themonitor.com and (956) 683-4434 or on Twitter, @jarmendariz.

News Link:-http://www.themonitor.com/news/local/article_11af059e-bc37-11e2-98ff-0019bb30f31a.html

 

Second Incident: 2-year-Old Leopard Dies Due To Heat Stroke In Alirajpur

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INDORE: Two year old leopard was found dead on Friday at Malpur Village of Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh.

Forest department had ruled out any poaching attempt and post mortem report revealed that leopard has died due to heat stroke.

In morning villagers spotted a dead body of leopard beneath a bridge over Hathni River on Barjhar-Malpur Road under Azad Nagar Tehshil. Following villagers from the near by areas fished out the body from water the informed forest officials.

Chief Conservator of Forest ( CCF) P C Dubey said post mortem report says that two year old leopard has died after its heart stop functioning due to shock. Shock might be due to heat stroke or may be weak and suffering from some ailment.

It is second incident under Azad Nagar Tehshil in last six month when leopard had died natural death. Earlier a mutilated body of leopard was found at Chhoti Pol Village.

Dubey said few months back villagers had killed a leopard at Chhoti Pol Village as leopard had killed their animal. Five people were arrested in that connection and sent to jail. At time nail and hair had been recovered from their possession.

News Link:http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/indore/2-year-old-leopard-dies-due-to-heat-stroke-in-Alirajpur/articleshow/20000968.cms?intenttarget=no

Rhino: No Horn Of Plenty

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“This is a long post, but if you are interested in Rhino, this is a must read & well worth the time needed to read it!!”

More rhinos will be killed in the next two years than will be born, so those charged with saving the endangered animal are considering radical and previously unimaginable solutions.

Twenty-four-hour watch: An anti-poaching team guards a de-horned northern white rhinoceros in Kenya in 2011. Photo: Brent Stirton

The battle to save the African rhinoceros has all the ingredients for a Hollywood thriller. There are armed baddies with good guys in hot pursuit. There is a hint of glamour. And the drama is played out against a backdrop of a beautiful, bloodstained landscape.

It is a story that begins, perhaps improbably, in Vietnam soon after the turn of the 21st century. A Vietnamese official of some influence, so the story goes, lets it be known that he, or perhaps it is his wife (for the sake of the story it matters little), has been cured of cancer. The miracle cure? Rhino horn powder.

With disconcerting speed, the story shifts to southern Africa, where a series of gunshots ring out across the African plains. This is followed by the hacking sound of machetes – it takes little time to dehorn a rhino because its horn consists not of bone but of keratin fibres with the density of tightly compressed hair or fingernails.

The getaway begins, armed rangers give chase. Once the horn leaves the flimsy protection of the national park or game reserve, where its former owner lies bleeding to death, it may never be found.

White Rhinoceros with a calf at Lake Nakuru national Park in Kenya. Photo: Martin Harvey/WWF

Its new owners never brought to justice. Sometimes they are caught. Sometimes they get away. Either way, another rhino is dead in a war that the bad guys seem to be winning.

The story shifts again, back to Vietnam where even the prime minister is rumoured to have survived a life-threatening illness after ingesting rhino horn. More than a cure for the country’s rich and powerful, however, rhino horn has by now crossed into the mainstream. Young Vietnamese mothers have taken to keeping at hand a supply of rhino horn to treat high fevers and other childhood ailments.

It is also the drug of choice for minor complaints associated more with the affluent lifestyle to which increasing numbers of Vietnamese have access; rhino horn has become a cure-all pick-me-up, a tonic, an elixir for hangovers.

With this new popularity has come the essential paraphernalia common to lifestyle drugs the world over, including bowls with specially designed serrated edges for grinding rhino horn into powder. In a short space of time, rhino horn has become the latest must-have accessory for the nouveau riche.

The sudden spike in Vietnamese demand, the miraculous fame of a saved official or his wife, and rhino horn’s emergence as a symbol of status all came at a time when legal stockpiles of rhino horn were at an all-time low. Demand and supply. This is the irrefutable law of economics.

Or, as one expert in the illegal trade in rhino horn put it: ”It was a perfect storm of deadly consumption.”

The rhinoceros is one of the oldest creatures on earth, one of just two survivors – the other is the elephant – of the megaherbivores that once counted dinosaurs among their number. Scientists believe rhinos have changed little in 40 million years.

The rhino’s unmistakable echo of the prehistoric and the mystery that surrounds such ancient creatures – this is the animal that Marco Polo mistook for a unicorn, describing it as having the feet of an elephant, the head of a wild boar and hair like a buffalo – have always been its nemesis.

As early as the first century AD, Greek traders travelled to the east, where the rhino horn powder they carried was prized as an aphrodisiac. But the rhino survived and, by the beginning of the 20th century, rhino numbers ran into the hundreds of thousands.

They were certainly plentiful in 1915 when the Roosevelts travelled to Africa to hunt. Kermit, the son, observed a rhinoceros ”standing there in the middle of the African plain, deep in prehistoric thought”, to which Theodore the father is quoted as replying: ”Indeed, the rhinoceros does seem like a survival from the elder world that has vanished.”

The Roosevelts then proceeded to shoot them.

Rhinos are epic creatures, gunmetal grey and the second-largest land animal on earth. Up to five metres long and weighing as much as 2700 kilograms, the white rhino, the largest of all rhino species, can live up to 50 years if left to grow old in the wild. In an example of advanced evolutionary adaptability, the black rhino will happily choose from about 220 plant species, eating more than 70 kilograms of plants a day.

These impressive numbers, combined with some of the rhino’s more limiting characteristics – it has very poor eyesight – have added to the myth that surrounds it.

”A slight movement may bring on a rhino charge,” reported nature writer Peter Matthiessen in the 1960s. ”Its poor vision cannot make out what’s moving and its nerves cannot tolerate suspense.”

Thus it was that the rhinoceros became a permanent member of the ”big five”, the roll-call of the most dangerous animals in Africa as defined by professional hunters.

But respect has always been tinged with derision. ”I do not see how the rhinoceros can be permanently preserved,” Theodore Roosevelt is reported as wondering, ”save in very out-of-the-way places or in regular game reserves … the beast’s stupidity, curiosity and truculence make up a combination of qualities which inevitably tend to ensure its destruction.”

In the 1960s, one eminent scientist described the rhinoceros as ”a very pathetic prehistoric creature, quite unable to adapt itself to modern times. It is our duty to save and preserve this short-tempered, prehistorically stupid but nevertheless so immensely lovable creature.”

Such disparaging remarks aside, they were, of course, right to be worried.

We have been here before when it comes to saving the rhino. In 1960, an estimated 100,000 black rhinos roamed across Africa, absent only from tropical rainforests and the Sahara. By 1981, 15,000 remained. In 1995, there were just 2410 left on the continent. In 2006, the western black rhino was declared extinct.

In Kenya, the numbers of black rhino fell from 20,000 at the beginning of the 1970s to 300 within a decade. This catastrophic fall in rhino numbers was the consequence of a poaching slaughter that consumed the country’s wildlife as lucrative ivory and rhino horn was consumed to meet the growing demand in Asia; rhino horn also made its way to the Arabian Peninsula, where it was used to fashion the handles of traditional Yemeni daggers.

It was in Kenya’s south, in the Tsavo National Park, that the war against rhinos reached its nadir – the park’s rhino population fell from 9000 in 1969 to less than 100 in 1980.

Since then, rhino numbers have rebounded thanks to a combination of legal protection – the trade in rhino horn was declared illegal under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 1975 – and beefed-up security.

When I visited the Tsavo West Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary three decades after the massacre, I was met by guards in full military fatigues and armed with machineguns. ”These rhinos in here,” one guard told me, ”they receive more protection than many African presidents.”

Kenya’s population of black rhinos grew to about 600, with the continent-wide figure thought to be 10 times that number. Efforts to save the white rhino proved even more successful, with more than 20,000 in South Africa alone. A corner had been turned, it seemed, and the battle to save the rhino was counted among the great conservation success stories of our time.

And then Vietnam acquired a taste for rhino horn.

In 2007, 13 rhinos were killed in South Africa. In the years that followed, the rate of killing grew steadily. From 2007 to 2009, one quarter of Zimbabwe’s 800 rhinos were killed, and Botswana’s rhino population has fallen to just 38. In South Africa, home to 90 per cent of the world’s white rhinos, armed guards patrol the parks.

Even so, 448 rhinos were killed in 2011. The following year, the number rose to 668. In the first 65 days of 2013, poachers killed 146 rhinos. At current rates the figure for this year will be close to 830.

As a result, rhino populations could soon reach a tipping point that may prove difficult to reverse. The rhino death rate will exceed its birth rate within two years on current trends, according to Dr Mike Knight, chairman of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s African Rhino Specialist Group. ”We would then be eating into rhino capital.”

Chief scientist of South Africa’s National Parks Hector Magome agrees: ”If poaching continues, the rhino population will decline significantly by 2016.”

The importance of saving Africa’s black and white rhinos is given added weight by the negligible numbers for the world’s other three surviving rhino species – the almost 3000 Indian rhinos live in highly fragmented populations, while just 220 Sumatran and fewer than 45 Javan rhinos survive. Vietnam’s last population of Javan rhinos was declared extinct in October 2011.

It is proving far easier to quantify the threats faced by Africa’s rhinos than it is to arrest the decline for one simple reason: what worked in the past no longer holds.

The recent upsurge in poaching has taken place in spite of the CITES regime of international legal protection. Security is also tighter than it has ever been.

In South Africa’s Kruger National Park, home to almost half the world’s white rhinos, 650 rangers patrol an area the size of Israel or Wales. This falls well short of the one-ranger-per-10-square-kilometres ratio recommended by international experts, and more than 100 rhinos have already been killed in Kruger this year.

Thus, those charged with saving the rhino are considering radical and hitherto unimaginable solutions. One such approach gaining traction is the controversial plan to legalise the trade in rhino horn, dehorn thousands of rhinos and flood the market with newly legal horns.

Were this to happen, supporters of the proposal say, the price of rhino horn – which reached $65,000 a kilogram in 2012 – would fall, and the incentive for poaching would diminish.

Dehorning has long been opposed by conservationists – rhinos use their horns to defend themselves and while feeding. But the failure of all other methods has convinced some that the time has come to contemplate the unthinkable.

”The current situation is failing,” Dr Duan Biggs, of the University of Queensland and one of the leading advocates for legalising the trade in horns, said recently. ”The longer we wait to put in place a legal trade, the more rhinos we lose.”

Dr Biggs and others point to the legalisation of the trade in crocodile products as an example of how such a plan could work.

Critics counter that any legalisation of the trade in rhino horns is unenforceable. They also argue that lax or ineffective legal controls in Vietnam – where trading in rhino horn is already illegal – and elsewhere ensure that it will be impossible to separate legally obtained rhino horns from those supplied by poachers.

”We don’t think it would stop the poaching crisis,” says Dr Colman O’Criodain, of the World Wildlife Fund. ”We think the legal trade could make it worse.’

The debate about saving rhinos is riddled with apparent contradictions: that we must consider disfiguring rhinos if we are to save them; that rhino numbers have not been this high in half a century but the risk of their extinction has never been greater.

And so it is that the story of the rhinoceros has reached a crossroads. It is a story that pits, on one side, a creature that has adapted to everything millions of years of evolution have thrown at it, against, on the other, the humans that will either drive the species to extinction or take the difficult decisions necessary to save it.

News Link-http://www.theage.com.au/world/no-horn-of-plenty-20130514-2jknt.html#ixzz2TKNlQary

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