The Environmental Crime Crisis
Rhino horn Approximately 94% of rhino poaching takes place in Zimbabwe and South Africa, which have by far the largest remaining popu- lations, and has increased dramatically from possibly less than 50 in 2007 to over 1,000 rhinos poached in 2013, involving organized crime. Population size of black andwhite rhinos was ca. 4,800 and 20,100 in 2010 respectively, with Asian one- horned rhinoceros numbering ca. 3,600 individuals. 27 Separatist groups in the 1980s and 1990s killed all of the one-horned rhinoceros in two Indian parks – Laokhowa and Manas. 28 Between 1994 and 2000, the rhino population size in Nepal increased from 466 to 544 individuals. During the subse- quent war, the population dropped to 372 in 2005, and was estimated to 446 individuals in three Terai protected areas of Nepal in 2006. 29 Correspondingly, rhinos were almost erad- icated in Maoist controlled Bardia National Park in Nepal during the war there in the 2000s. The peace agreements stipulated removal of military patrols in the park amongst the terms of peace negotiations at several stages. 30 Here, numbers dropped from around 67 (with 18 accounted for by poachers and natural deaths in 2000) to around only 22 remaining in 2008. 31 Rhinos have disappeared entirely from several Asian and African countries in recent years, although overall numbers of rhino in Africa have been increasing. The last rhino in Mozambique was shot in 2013. According to media reports an underpaid ranger was accused of leading poachers to the site for a bribe of USD 80. 32 While that case is uncon-
firmed, the presence of well-paid and well-trained rangers is critical for frontline protection irrespective of international agreements and intentions. Rhino horn poached last year is valued around USD 63.8–192 million street value, and much less at the frontline of poaching.
Map by Philippe Rekacewicz
Figure 6: Rhinos were hunted intensively during the war in Nepal in the early to mid 2000s, with catastrophic effects such as in Bardia National park. 33
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