Legalizing the rhino tusk trade in South Africa

rhinoweb.jpg(AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo)

If you ever come across a rhinoceros stamping its feet, lowering its head and snorting, you could be in big trouble. But don't worry, there's almost no danger. Your chances of ever coming across a rhino are small and getting a lot smaller. We hear what's being done to keep the last few stragglers alive.



Part Three of The Current

Legalizing the rhino tusk trade in South Africa

We started this segment with a clip of protesters at the Johannesburg zoo last weekend. Despite years of pleading, warning and threatening, the rhinos of Africa continue to disappear. It's all because they're attached to a horn that's prized as medicine in the east.

Already this year, 369 rhinos have been poached in South Africa. That's about thirty more than were killed in 2010 -- and that was a record year for poaching. The country is increasing security... launching education campaigns and is now even considering the idea of legalizing the trade in rhino horns.

Joseph Okori is the Head of the African Rhino program with the World Wildlife Fund. He works in South Africa, but was in Washington DC this morning.

John Hume is a rhino farmer in South Africa. He's thought to own the largest herd of rhinos in private hands in the world. We reached him at home at his Mauricedale Game Ranch which is just south of Kruger National Park in the Northeast part of the country.

And Candace Scott is one of those people. She's a PHD student and part of the Queens University Molecular Ecology Lab. She's spent a lot of time in the parks and reserves of South Africa. She was in Kingston.

This week, customs officials in Hong Kong discovered 33 rhino horns in a container shipped from South Africa, suspected to be en route for mainland China. It's reported to be the biggest single rhino horn seizure.The South African government hopes DNA testing will provide clues to identify the rhino horn supplier.

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