RHINO CONSERVATION BOTSWANA
Private Bag 14, Maun, Botswana
Tel: (+267) 7165 8686 or (+267) 686 0086
Rhino poaching has increased dramatically in the last few years, with hundreds killed each year for their horns. Although there is no scientific proof of its medical value, rhino horn - made of keratin, the same as a human fingernail - is highly prized in traditional Asian medicine, where it is ground into a fine powder or manufactured into tablets as a treatment for a variety of illnesses such as nosebleeds, strokes, convulsions and fevers. Asian demand for rhino horn has set a historic price for rhino horn powder – over $30,000 per pound, making it more valuable than gold and cocaine. This demand has created highly profitable and organized international poaching criminal syndicates who deploy advanced technologies ranging from night vision scopes, silenced weapons, darting equipment and helicopters to carry out their mission. Rhino poaching rates in Africa have risen more than 1000% since the beginning of the decade.
Continued poaching will see Africa’s rhinos slide over the brink, into extinction.
THE POACHING CRISIS
Illegal wildlife trade, driven by high profit margins and aided by poor governance and weak law enforcement efforts, has boomed, just as other Chinese investments in Africa have grown increasingly active. Wildlife agents, customs officials, and government leaders are being paid off by what is viewed as a well-organized mafia moving animal parts from Africa to Asia. Toothless laws, corruption, weak judicial systems, and light punishments allow criminal networks to thrive on wildlife trade with little regard to risk or consequence. The extreme poverty of many African communities induces their complicity in African-based, Asian-run poaching networks.