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September 13, 2013

Remaining Rhino Species Gets Immediate Protection Under U.S. Law

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service immediately listed the southern white rhino as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, giving the species greater protection from poaching. With two or three rhinos poached every day for their horns, conservationists believe that within a few years’ time, there will be no more rhinos in the wild in Africa.  The listing now means that all five rhino species are under the protection of United States’ law. It will be easier for enforcement officials to bring rhino horn smugglers to justice.

Rhino horns fetch high prices in Asia, sold to wealthy people who consume them for the horn’s purported medical benefits. Others buy rhino horns as a status symbol. Growing wealth has meant that more people than ever before can afford to buy rhino horn. Humane Society International and the government of Vietnam are working together to reduce rhino horn demand in that country.

In the U.S., criminals wanting to profit from rhino horn demand have been caught buying up rhino horns that were legally imported into the U.S. as antiques or hunting trophies and then shipping them to Vietnam and China for sale in those countries’ lucrative, illegal marketplaces.

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