July 9, 2009

Rhino poaching may reach 15-year high

Three conservation groups say an increased demand for rhinoceros horns in Asia could soon lead to a 15-year high in rhino poaching figures.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, the World Wide Fund for Nature and the Traffic monitoring network said in a joint news release Thursday that up to three rhinos are being killed daily in parts of Asia and Africa.

Illegal rhino horn trade to destinations in Asia is driving the killing, with growing evidence of involvement of Vietnamese, Chinese and Thai nationals in the illegal procurement and transport of rhino horn out of Africa, the groups said in a briefing at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Geneva, Switzerland.

WWF species policy officer Heather Sohl called for action that would stop rhino poaching worldwide from reaching a 15-year high, the BBC reported.

This is the worst rhino poaching we have seen in many years and it is critical for governments to stand up and take action, Sohl said.