September 16, 2011
Protected Black Rhino Killed for His Horn
Rhino horn is a highly valuable commodity, used in Traditional Chinese Medicines in Asian communities around the world, and populations of rhinos in many African countries are being decimated by poachers keen to profit from the slaughter of these animals.
Despite the heavy protection afforded to rhinos translocated to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania as part of a reintroduction program, poachers still managed to make a deadly strike for the precious horn.
In December 2010, George, one of five black rhinos brought from South Africa to the park, was found dead with his horn sawn off.
George was one of the first of a group of 30 rhinos due to be moved, over a two-year period, as part of the Serengeti Rhino Repatriation Project. Aimed at bolstering Tanzania’s black rhino population, the project hopes to reverse some of the damage done in the 1960s and 1970s when overhunting and poaching all but wiped the animals out.
George and his fellow rhinos were under the protection of an elite ranger task force specifically trained to protect the animals, and all had been fitted with radio transmitters. The incident was described as a “terrible setback” by Dr. Mark Borner of the Frankfurt Zoological Society, a partner in the project.