Poachers Kill Rhino At Nairobi National Park

Kenyan Wildlife Service officials said poachers shot and killed a pregnant white rhino in Nairobi National Park. It was the first time a rhino has been killed in the park in six years.

So far this year, 35 rhinos have been killed in Kenya. Last year, 29 rhinos were killed.

Chris Donohue, an American living in Nairobi, was driving through the park with his wife and kids last weekend when they saw three male lions close together. The dead rhino lay nearby, its horn cut off and its stomach opened up.

“The kids were like, ‘Daddy, was that rhino sick?’ And we were like, no, we’re pretty sure it was poached,” Donohue said. “For me it was pretty traumatic to see it.”

Poachers killed the white rhinoceros while it was standing near a watering hole last Friday.

“It shows the great heights these criminals are willing to go,” said Paul Udoto, the wildlife service’s spokesman. “It’s something we are taking very seriously because it’s a new level of poaching for us. And it is indeed very daring.”

According to The Washington Post, poachers aren’t deterred from the illegal killings because Kenya’s anti-poaching laws are weak and antiquated. In January, four Chinese men pleaded guilty to smuggling ivory, but received no jail time. Instead, they were fined less than $400 each.

Kenya’s parliament is expected to take up a wildlife bill next month that would increase jail time and fines for poachers. The bill would call for a minimum fine of almost $115,000 and a minimum prison sentence of 15 years. A person who commits crimes related to an endangered or threatened species could face both the fine and the prison sentence.

Criminals in possession of wildlife trophies face a minimum fine of almost $15,000, five years in prison, or both.

In Mozambique, rhino poachers were responsible for the extinction of the species in Limpopo National Park. The last sighting of a living rhino in the park was in January of this year. The 300 rhinos that were living in the park since 2002 are presumed dead.

Rhino poaching in South Africa has increased nearly 500 percent since 2007. Last year, approximately 668 rhinos were illegally killed.

What do you think should be done about poaching?

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