Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Zim loses 200 rhinos to poaching, says parks authority

Zimbabwe has lost more than 200 rhinos to poachers in the last four years as locals increasingly network with international syndicates in the illegal trade of horns, the country’s news agency New Ziana reported on Thursday.

It quoted a wildlife management official as saying that most of the country’s wild animal species, including the endangered rhino, are under severe threat from organized poaching syndicates.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority board chairman George Pangeti said a collaborative approach among stakeholders is required to combat the poaching.

“We have many endangered plant and animal species, powerful African symbols such as the rhino, flagship species whose future is under severe threat,” he was quoted as saying by the news agency.

Experts blame the rise in rhino poaching to a lucrative market in Asia where the rhino horn is used in traditional medicine. Zimbabwe used to boast of a rhino population of more than 1, 000 about a decade ago but the figure has significantly dropped to below 800.

According to the International Rhino Foundation, Zimbabwe ’s black rhino population numbered 490 individuals and 280 white rhinos in 2008. Zimbabwe is home to the fourth largest population of black rhinos in the world.

But despite decimation of the rhino population, conservationists remain hopeful that rhino population will continue to grow as the number of rhino deaths in the country has not yet exceeded the number of births.

Source: Xinhua

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