05 Apr 2013:
South Africa Game Reserve
Poisons Rhino Horns to Halt Poachers
Officials at a private game reserve in South Africa say they have injected into the horns of more than 100 rhinos a parasiticide that will make humans sick if they ingest the horns
. As the rhinos’ death toll
continues to escalate in South Africa
, where nearly 700 animals were poached last year to supply a growing black market for their horns, officials say bold action was necessary. “Despite all the interventions by police, the body count has continued to climb,” Andrew Parker, chief executive of the Sabi Sand Wildtuin Association, a group of private landowners, told the Guardian
. “Everything we’ve tried has not been working and for poachers it has become a low-risk, high-reward ratio.” The group is trying to increase that risk by injecting a mix of parasiticides and pink dye into the horns of tranquilized rhinos. The poison is not lethal to humans, Parker said, but anyone who consumes it will be extremely ill. Rising demand for rhino horns in Southeast Asia
, where the horns are believed to have a variety of healing powers, has triggered a staggering surge in the killing of rhinos, particularly in South Africa, home to 75 percent of the world’s rhinos. While an average of 13 rhinos were poached in the country annually from 1990 to 2007, more than 200 animals have already been killed this year.
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