A record number of African rhinos were slaughtered for their horns last year

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The number of rhinos poached in Africa increased for the sixth year in a row with more than 1,300 killed last year — the greatest loss in a single year.

According to AFP, researchers from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature found that in 2015, at least 1,338 rhinos across Africa were killed by poachers for their horns.

The illegal trade is fueled by high demand in Southeast Asia, particularly China and Vietnam, where rhinoceros horns are prized for their purported medicinal properties.

Sold for about $60,000 a kilo on the black market, the horns are more expensive than cocaine, and worth more in weight than gold or diamonds.

The BBC reports that the trade has been banned in Africa since 2008, but despite continued efforts to combat the slaughter using drones, satellites, radios and other technology, losses reached a record high this year.

International Union for the Conservation of Nature researchers found that decreased poaching in one area only led to further poaching elsewhere. So while the number of slaughtered rhinos decreased in South Africa, it quadrupled in Namibia and doubled in Zimbabwe.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Wildlife trafficking is world’s fourth largest illegal trade
2. 1,338 rhinos poached in Africa in 2015
3. Rhino horns prized as medicine in Vietnam, China
4. Rhino horns more expensive than gold, diamonds, cocaine
5. Decreased poaching in one area increases poaching elsewhere

VOICEOVER (in English):

“Wildlife trafficking is the world’s fourth-largest illegal trade, after drugs, counterfeiting and human trafficking.”

“In 2015, at least 1,338 rhinos across Africa were killed by poachers for their horns.”

“The illegal trade is fueled by a high demand in China and Vietnam, where the horns are prized for their purported medicinal properties.”

“Sold for about $60,000 a kilo on the black market, rhino horns are more expensive than cocaine, and worth more in weight than gold or diamonds.

“Experts found that decreased poaching in one area only led to further poaching elsewhere. So while the number of slaughtered rhinos decreased in South Africa, they quadrupled in Namibia and doubled in Zimbabwe.”

SOURCES:
BBC, AFP
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35769413
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/record-1300-rhinos-poached-in-africa-in-2015/articleshow/51337323.cms