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.