This week, South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs released the shocking figure of 199 rhinos slaughtered during the first four months of 2012.
Most of the massacre has occurred in Kruger National Park, where 119 rhinos were killed. In addition, 122 people have been arrested in South Africa for rhino-related crimes.
Last year, the body count did not reach 200 until July 4th.
However, if the current pace continues, South Africa’s rhino death toll could reach 600 this year.
Yet another threat in South Africa
Sadly, the illegal killing of rhinos for their horns is not the only threat to South Africa’s rhinos.
White rhinos are among 270 animals being legally exported from South Africa to Dhaka Zoo in Bangladesh — a “hell hole” where more than 500 animals have died since 1999.
Apparently, this business arrangement has been going on for quite some time; twelve of the 27 animals exported from South Africa to Dhaka Zoo in 2008 were dead within a year.
(Read the entire disturbing story, with links to horrific photos, at South Africa: Rhinos and Lions Sold to ‘Hell Hole’ Zoo in Bangladesh.)
Arrests in Sweden
An extensive investigation in Sweden has resulted in the arrests of two rhino horn traders.
According to The Local, they were busted at an auction house in Stockholm, and are believed to be “part of a broader criminal network” which also engages in copyright piracy and armed robbery.
A ‘Starr’ for rhinos
Ringo Starr has added a photo of a baby rhino to his home page, along with the message “Save the Rhinos”.
The former Beatle commented on his website that he and the late great Keith Moon have always “loved rhinos”.
I’ve always loved Rhinos. They were close to my and Keith Moon’s hear. In fact, I had two huge ones made and gave one to Keith. Mine is still here out on the grass here in England
Fiesta for rhinos #cincoderhino2012
If you’ve been wondering how you can help rhinos, consider making a donation on Saturday May 5th to the International Rhino Foundation.
IRF has set a special target of raising $10,000 on “Cinco de Rhino” and every dollar makes a difference!
To learn more about how the International Rhino Foundation works to protect all five rhino species, visit their website.
Baby white rhinos via Shutterstock; image #2 © Saving Rhinos; #3 screenshot via ringostarr.com; #4 © & courtesy of International Rhino Foundation.