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Rhino Crisis Round Up: Busting Myths, Troubling Trends & More

Global efforts to dispel the notion of rhino horn’s alleged medicinal properties are noticeably on the rise – perfect timing as we head into the week before World Rhino Day.

And in the US, concern is growing around antique rhino horn auctions and exports.

Rhino killing attempt thwarted

In Assam’s Orang National Park, two rhino killers got a taste of their own medicine.

NewKerala.com reports that forest guards followed the sounds of gunfire and discovered a gang who had just shot a female rhino. An exchange of gunfire followed, in which two gang members were killed and two escaped.

The rhino survived the gunshot; however, there is no word on her condition at this time.

Troubling trends

Troubling trends have been identified in the US.

At an auction in Macon, MO, “Asian attendees” reportedly drove up the price of a pair of rhino horns, which were ultimately sold for $125, 000 to a phone bidder.

And according to data compiled by Humane Society International, the US allowed the export of 41 rhino horns in 2010. All of the rhino horns were exported to China, except one, which went to Singapore.

The UK has already tightened antique trade loopholes. Hopefully, the US will do the same.

Find out more about this topic at Disturbing Connection Between Antique Rhino Horn ‘Activity’ and Rhino Killings in South Africa.

News clampdown?

South Africa’s National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele is attempting to stem the flow of negative news about its continued rhino crisis by banning “all provincial and regional police communication officers from commenting on issues concerning rhino poaching.”

The order came after two suspected rhino killers were killed by SANDF soldiers last week in Kruger National Park, as posted on the SANParks website.

More from South Africa:

  • A three-week-old rhino calf was orphaned after the mother was shot and killed on a game farm near Pretoria. The killers hacked the baby rhino’s head with a panga before the frightened little one escaped and became stuck in a small tree. View a photo gallery of the baby rhino’s rescue here. (Update September 18th: The baby rhino passed away on Saturday morning. Read the heartbreaking story here.)
  • The body of a dead rhino was found in Polokwane. At the same municipal game reserve, a rhino killing attempt was interrupted when hikers spotted a rhino that had shot by a tranquilizer dart. Rhino horn syndicates often use veterinary drugs to sedate rhinos while they hack off the horns, then leave the incapacitated rhino to slowly bleed to death.
  • Suspected rhino horn syndicate ringleader Dawie Groenwald (currently out on bail) has reportedly purchased “at least ten rhinos at an auction.” Groenwald is expected back in court later this month to face charges related to dealing in rhino horn and killing rhinos. The purchase was made on behalf of another controversial game farmer, who claims there is “nothing unusual” about doing business with Groenewald.
  • The case of Chumlong Lemtongthai has been postponed until November 8th and he is to remain in jail until that time. Lemtongthai and his South African accomplice, Marnus Steyl, are accused of using trophy hunts to launder rhino horn for the illegal market. But is Steyl’s role in the scheme being swept under the rug?

Learn more about how South Africa’s legal trade loopholes are being used as a smokescreen for illegal rhino horn trade at Concern Grows Around South Africa’s Legal Trade in Live Rhinos.

Links to download the above posters can be found here.

Busting myths

Members of the Chinese medicine community in the US and UK are rallying around rhinos and speaking out against the continued use of rhino horn.

In the UK, the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine (RCHM) issued a statement entitled “The RCHM condemns continued use of rhino horns”.

The RCHM has also announced World Rhino Day on their website.

Read the entire statement here.

This positive step follows earlier action taken by the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) and Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM).

The President of ACTCM and CCAOM recently stated that rhino horn is no longer approved for use, and there is no evidence to support wild claims of rhino horn’s effectiveness as a cancer treatment.

Links to download the above posters can be found here.

Countdown to World Rhino Day

It’s less than one week to go until World Rhino Day – September 22nd!

Here’s a look at some of the World Rhino Day events:

Find out more about World Rhino Day at Mark Your Calendar: World Rhino Day is September 22 {Videos}.

Photo #1 © iStockphoto.com; photo #2 By Krish Dulal (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons; images #3 & #4 Saving Rhinos LLC




One comment
  1. TrulySAfrican

    Educate – Share – Debunk myths
    It’s down to each and every one of us to educate others that rhino horn is not a medicine. Using the sharing power of social media and tools like infographics are an excellent way to help spread the world. Here’s an infographic for World Rhino Day http://ow.ly/6BD13

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