Rhino poaching is now at a 15 year high according to a report published by the IUCN, WWF and Traffic. In South Africa and Zimbabwe alone, an estimated 69 animals have been killed since January 2009, a rate of 12 animals a month, compared with just 3-4 a month between 2000 and 2005. This spat of poaching is being driven by a soaring demand for illegal horn by traders in Thailand, China and Vietnam. Asian rhinos are also being targetted, with dehorned carcasses being found in India and Nepal. The report was presented to the 58th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Standing Committee this week in Geneva.
Dr Jane Smart, Director of IUCN's Biodiversity Conservation Group said, "Rhino populations in both Africa and Asia are being seriously threatened by poaching and illegal trade. The IUCN and its African and Asian Rhino Specialist Groups are working hard to gather data and information on rhinos so that CITES parties can make informed decisions and ensure that rhinos are still here for generations to come."
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