12 suspected rhino poachers and rhino horn buyers have been arrested in Kenya following the killing of a female Southern white rhino on a private ranch.
A manhunt in central Kenya has resulted in the arrest of 12 suspected rhino poachers and rhino horn buyers, after a 10-year old female Southern white rhino was shot at the Mugie rhino sanctuary on December 28, and her horns brutally hacked off.
The rhino’s horns were recovered in the arrest, along with $8,500 USD in cash.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Director Dr. Julius Kipng’etich said via Capital FM Kenya that the poachers may have intentionally struck during the holdiay season.
The poaching season is normally in April but it seems the poachers have changed tactics. They thought because it was a holiday season we would relax our surveillance but they were wrong.
Illegal rhino killings on the rise
Demand for rhino horn throughout Asia – most notably China and Vietnam – is responsible for the surge in the illegal slaughter of rhinos throughout Africa, India, and Nepal.
Although trade in rhino horn is banned, the illegal market in rhino horn – along with other endangered species products – continues to flourish in Asian countries where superstitions attribute rhino horn with “medicinal” properties to treat common ailments.
The Southern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum) population has recovered to over 17,500 from fewer than 200.
However, the Northern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) population consists of just eight individuals, after being decimated by rampant poaching to fulfill Asian demand for illegal rhino horn.
Numerous scientific studies have long ago proven there are no medicinal properties in rhino horn.