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South African Rhino Poaching Hits New High

Despite ongoing protection efforts, rhinoceros poaching continues to climb sharply in South Africa, the World Wildlife Fund said Friday.

New government estimates show that killings of South African rhinos for their horns has increased 50 percent since 2011 and nearly 5000 percent since 2007, according to the group, marking a new peak.

Last year, 668 rhinoceros were killed illegally in South Africa for their horns, a new high, according to the World Wildlife Fund, which studies wildlife poaching and illegal animal trade.

New hunting methods for the nearly 2,000 pound (900 kg) animals, including high powered rifles, helicopters, and night vision goggles have eclipsed more traditional hunting tools such as bows, arrows, and spears. (Read Ivory in National Geographic magazine.)

African rhino is under serious threat from poachers who have intensified their search of rhino for their horns since 2007, driven by growing market demands in Asia, Joseph Okori, the head of WWF African Rhino Program, said in a statement.

Rhino horns are so valuable in parts of Asia because of widespread belief that they cure diseases, especially cancer.

South African biologists warn that illegal killing may threaten to outpace new births of calves, risking the extinction of some rhino species, including African black rhinos and Sumatran rhinos native to Asia.

While African rhinos are imperiled due to poaching, last year WWF ranked Vietnam the worst country for crime against wildlife, after poachers killed some of the few remaining of Vietnam prized Javan rhinoceros. They are considered the rarest large land mammal on the planet.

Still, despite some alleged government corruption and loose patrolling of protected areas, conservation efforts have shown some success protecting rhinos in many areas.

Last month, the South African and Vietnamese governments signed a treaty increasing enforcement of hunting bans and sharing information to crack down on offenders. Both countries have vowed to try to disrupt transit routes where bloody horns make it into the hands of Asian collectors.

There is no end to the senseless killing of precious wildlife as governments of these countries continue to permit such ruthless vile hunting all in the name of big bags of blood money from the filthy rich who have no better use for their evil money. The short sightedness of these misguided governments is at the detriment of all wild life in their counties which does not seem to have to abide with any international wild life laws. Man will never stop their unconscionable digesting thirst for killing until every animal is gone format this god forsaken planet. God help the future generations whip would be left with an overpopulated planet of ruthless blood thirsty animal killers with no animal left to kill!! What a terrifying thought!

Why is this butchering of rhinos simply allowed? Is it because the South African government is making vast amounts of money from it and /or they are cosying up to the east (specifically China) in the same way they would not allow the Dalai Llama a visa so that he could not enter South Africa? In my view if you capable of doing the latter, the former is a picnic. And the local Africans never say a word against this truly alhambra bracelet knock off van cleef horrible crime against defenceless animals. I only found out the other day that a rhino can scream. I wish I had heard it. It copy mother of pearl clover bracelet haunts me daily.

The more i read the more disgusted i am. first because of what i am assuming is an otherwise intelligent group of people is being duped into thinking that rhino horns actually cure anything and secondly because they know how these horns are obtained. wake up folks heres a great example of how a market is created on peoples ignorance and you are buying into it. shame on you for being so stupid and condoning the killing of these animals in such a cruel horrific manner. your money would be better spent on common sense.

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Featured Research: Mushara Elephant Project

Caitlin O'Connell and her husband, Tim Rodwell, started theMushara Elephant Projectin Namibia 24 years ago to better understand elephant social structure, communication and health in order to apply this knowledge to improved care in captivity and ultimately to elephant conservation in the wild. O'Connell is on thefaculty at Stanford University School of Medicineand CEO of the elephant focused nonprofit,Utopia Scientific.

Nat Geo Expedition: Rising Star

Two years after being discovered deep in a South African cave, the 1,500 fossils excavated during the Rising Star Expedition have been identified as belonging to a previously unknown early human relative that National Geographic Explorer in Residence Lee Berger and team have named Homo naledi.

With at least 15 individuals of all ages and both sexes represented, the find adds an unprecedented amount of information to our understanding of early human evolution in Africa.

In addition, the absence of any other animal remains or large debris in the fossil chamber strongly suggests that these non human beings intentionally deposited their dead within this cave.

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