Rhino’s In South Africa Being Killed In Record Numbers

An increasing demand for rhino horns which can fetch up to $50,000 per pound on the black market along with a dwindling number of the animals has led to a record number being killed in South Africa according to the World Wildlife Fund.

According to numbers released from South Africa National Parks 341 rhinos have been killed so far in 2011, up from the 333 Rhino’s killed in 2010 with two months left to go in the year.

According to the WWF the Rhino’s are being hunted at a record pace because their horns are used in traditional Vietnamese traditional medicine.

What makes the situation even more tragic is the fact that the darted Rhino’s are left to bleed to death after their horn has been removed.

The number of Rhino’s being hunted has become worrisome over the last six years, up until 2005 an average of just 36 rhino deaths were reported.

While law enforcement agencies have attempted to slow the death of Rhino’s in various areas they have been met with smuggling rings that are hard to track down.

According to the WWF South Africa has the largest population of Rhino’s in the world with 18,780 white rhinos and 1,916 black rhinos.

In the meantime South African officials are attempting to determine if the legalized trade of Rhino’s could potentially slow the practice of poaching. One argument raised is that it would push down the high cost paid for the horns of rhino’s making poaching a nearly worthless time-consuming practice.

In the meantime many people in Vietnam believe the horn can help cure cancer regardless of studies showing absolutely no truth to that belief. The last known Javan Rhino in Vietnam was killed earlier this month.

Do you think more should be done to protect Rhino’s from poaching in South Africa?

[Image via Shutterstock]