Animals Black rhino mother with calf

Published on January 18th, 2012 | by Rhishja Cota-Larson

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Rhino Crisis Round Up: Rhino-Killing Attempt Thwarted at Zoo, & More

This week, a disturbing development emerged in India, and South Africa is beefing up security for its imperiled rhinos.

Rhino killing attempt thwarted at zoo

In India, a suspect identified as Chin Khansong was arrested for attempting to kill rhinos at the Assam State Zoo, where nine greater one-horned rhinos are kept.

He had a .303 rifle, ammunition, an axe, and a machete in his possession.

The Hindustan Times reports that Khansong scaled the zoo’s wall on Saturday night, hoping the facility would be empty during Assam’s harvest festival (Magh Bihu).

Khansong is said to be from the Churachandpur district of Manipur.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time a zoo has been the target of wildlife traffickers.

Some of you may recall that in 2009, I wrote about a Sumatran tiger that was killed and skinned inside her enclosure at Rimbo Zoo in Indonesia.

The tiger’s skin, along with the various body parts in demand for traditional Chinese medicine, were taken from the tiger’s enclosure; two people were later arrested.

Museum theft update

Following last year’s spate of rhino horn thefts from museums, the Natural History Museum in Hertfordshire replaced the horns of its rhino display with resin lookalikes.

The fakes apparently did the trick, as they were soon stolen.

According to BBC News, a suspect identified as Darren Bennett was arrested this week and charged with stealing the replica rhino horns from the museum. He is expected to appear in court at a later date.

South Africa beefs up security for rhinos

South Africa is planning to send another 150 rangers into the famed Kruger National Park to help protect its rhinos.

Earlier this month, eight rhinos were found dead in one day at the Park, while South Africa’s government news site BuaNews stated that 24 rhinos have been killed countrywide since the beginning of 2012.

It was also reported by allAfrica.com that the 150-kilometer section of electric fence between South Africa and Mozambique may be rebuilt, as the border has been a hotspot for rhino killings.

How to help

A reminder: You can help South Africa and Zimbabwe in the battle to protect rhinos by supporting Operation Stop Poaching Now, an initiative led by International Rhino Foundation.

Visit Operation Stop Poaching Now to learn more.

Image credits: Black rhino with baby via Shutterstock; greater one-horned rhino with baby via Shutterstock. Chart via Saving Rhinos (terms of use); “Stop Poaching Now” via International Rhino Foundation.




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About the Author

Rhishja is the founder of Annamiticus, a nonprofit organization which provides educational information and news about wildlife crime and endangered species. Rhishja has journeyed to the streets of Hanoi to research the illegal wildlife trade, and to the rainforests of Sumatra and Java to document the world’s rarest rhinos. At CITES CoP16 in Bangkok, she joined colleagues from around the world to lobby in favor of protecting endangered species from economic exploitation. When Rhishja is not blogging about the illegal wildlife trade, she enjoys gardening, reading, designing, and rocking out to live music.



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