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Rhino Crisis Round Up: Arsenic and Old Rhino Horns, the Incredible Rhinoceros Cake and More

There was encouraging news this week from South Africa, as efforts to crack down on the country’s trophy hunting debacle are moving forward.

Meanwhile, antique rhino horn thefts continue – but there may be very unpleasant consequences for the end user.

Arsenic and old rhino horns

The latest antique rhino horn heist was sadly the horn of “Rosie the Rhino”, an exhibit beloved by children who regularly visited Suffolk’s Ipswich museum.

However, if Rosie’s horn is destined to be ground into illegal Chinese medicine, not only will the patient derive zero medicinal benefits, but he or she could be in for a deadly surprise.

The exhibit was apparently preserved with a “cocktail of chemicals” which could have included “large amounts” of arsenic.

More calls for rhino hunting moratorium

South Africa’s Democratic Alliance (DA) has joined the growing call for a moratorium on the trophy hunting of rhinos.

The announcement was made by Gareth Morgan MP, DA Shadow Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs in response to the undeniable connection between South Africa’s trophy hunting industry and the illegal rhino horn trade.

He recommends that South Africa’s Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs take significant “action steps” to address the issue:

There are a number of important action steps that the Minister needs to take to improve regulations around rhino hunting. First, there needs to be a national online registry of hunting permits. In real time, any provincial conservation official processing a hunting permit should be able to establish the record of the applicant across South Africa. At the same time, the national Department of Environmental Affairs would be able to track trends providing important intelligence on proposed hunts that may not be in line with the law.

Read the statement in its entirety on Politicsweb.

For the backstory on this unsavory issue, see Thai Prostitutes Hired to Kill Rhinos in South African Trophy Hunting Scam and Mules Hunting Rhinos? Sinister Scam Unfolds in South Africa.

Vietnamese rhino horn traffickers sentenced

Two Vietnamese nationals arrested over a year ago for trafficking rhino horn have finally been sentenced to prison in South Africa.

The pair, Duc Manh Chu and Phi Hung Nguyeng, was busted at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo Airport just 30 minutes prior to the World Cup’s Opening Ceremony.

They were attempting to smuggle approximately 16 rhino horns to Vietnam.

According to the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC, Chu received a 12 year sentence and Nguyeng received eight years.

Horny and delicious

This week’s Round Up concludes with a surprise that is both tasty and brilliant!

Enjoy this video of a truly incredible rhinoceros-shaped cake from Ava Sweet Cakes:

http://youtu.be/AuakwT5z86E

Image #1 & #2 © iStockphoto.com; #3 Wikimedia Commons




2 comments
  1. Baz Edmeades

    ust over a century ago, Africa’s giant “white” rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum came back, in South Africa, from the very edge of extinction.

    In 1897, less than 100 of these animals survived in a small area in Zululand. That tiny group somehow preserved enough genetic diversity to provide a foundation for the resurrection of this species. Under effective government protection, its population increased to around 12,500 by 2007. (Africa’s other white rhino populations have, in contrast to this, all disappeared.)

    It is doubly tragic, therefore, that poaching has now stopped the growth of this last population of white rhinos, and has raised, once again, the spectre of its disappearance. What a test for Homo sapiens! Is it as powerless to prevent itself from wiping out this animal as it was over stopping itself from exterminating New Zealand’s great Moas and giant eagles 800 years ago?

    Or as powerless as it remains, today, from preventing itself from killing off the last of the unique Sumatran rhinoceroses?

    See http://www.megafauna.com/chapter3.htm

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