Rhino poachers targeted by rangers

Nov. 29, 2011 at 9:58 PM
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YULEE, Fla., Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Conservationists say they're working with security experts in South Africa to crack down on rhinoceros poaching.

The International Rhino Foundation, based in Yulee, Fla., says nearly 90 percent of the world's rhino population has been wiped out since 1970. This year, almost 400 rhinos have been poached in South Africa.

The group is promoting an anti-poaching initiative and providing training and crime scene investigation tools to make sure rangers are being trained in intelligence gathering, evidence collection, communications, and rhino identification and monitoring.

"It's an unbelievably difficult and dangerous job," Susie Ellis, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation, said Tuesday in a release. "Every day, hundreds of rangers in Zimbabwe and South Africa put their lives on the line to protect rhinos -- and they need our help."

Rhino horns are sold for prices equivalent to diamonds and gold on the black market for use in traditional Asian medicine, Ellis said.

"Authorities estimate that fewer than five percent of rhino poachers are convicted -- they are literally getting away with murder," she said.

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