‘Currently one rhinoceros is killed by poachers every 16 hours in South Africa. Over the last three years, more than a thousand of the animals have been slaughtered. In response, police gunned down 22 poachers and arrested more than 200 last year. At the bloody heart of this conflict is the rhino’s horn, a prized ingredient in traditional Asian medicines. Though black market prices vary widely, as of last fall dealers in Vietnam quoted prices ranging from $33 to $133 a gram, which at the top end is double the price of gold and can exceed the price of cocaine.’ - Peter Gwin, National Geographic
The BBC reported yesterday that the number of rhinos killed this year has already hit 445 (448 total were killed in 2011).
Image from Rhino Wars, by Brent Stirton
Update: Rhino poaching in South Africa was up almost 50% in 2012 over 2011.