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World Rhino Day Sounds Alarm That Species Are Being Pushed Toward Extinction

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Washington, D.C. — World Rhino Day, marked on Sept. 22, holds a renewed sense of urgency this year due to a global increase in poaching, which is pushing rhinos toward extinction, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said today.

Thus far, 635 rhinos have been poached in South Africa this year, just shy of the record 668 poached in 2012. South Africa has seen illegal poaching increase by more than 5,000 percent since 2007. The demand for rhino horn has skyrocketed due to false belief in Asia about its medicinal value. Studies have not proven rhino horn, which is basically finely compacted hair, to hold any medicinal value.

“Every single rhino is under threat of poaching at the moment,” said Barney Long, Director, Species Conservation Program, WWF. “This slaughter of rhinos is out of control and threatens to undermine decades of conservation work and the livelihoods of those who depend on them.”

In Asia, Javan and Sumatran rhinos are listed as critically endangered and are on the verge of extinction. The Javan rhino was declared extinct in Vietnam in 2010, leaving only a single tiny population clinging for survival on the Indonesian island of Java. Sumatran rhinos are thought to number as few as 100 individuals and remain extremely vulnerable to numerous threats.

“The remaining Javan and Sumatran rhinos are in critical need of attention and support, as they are teetering on the brink. Multiple threats face the species including: small population size, fragmented populations, poaching, disease and natural disasters. But as we have done with white, black and Indian rhinos, we can recover these species if the world would start paying attention to their needs,” Long said.

WWF is also urging governments meeting in New York this week for the Opening of the United Nations General Assembly to seize the opportunity to accelerate efforts to combat illicit wildlife trafficking.

Because of its transnational nature spanning: source, transit and demand countries, ending wildlife trafficking requires both international collaboration between countries, and internal coordination between government agencies. WWF urges heads of state to establish national task forces consisting of police, customs, justice, defense, environment and other specialized agencies.

Join the conversation about World Rhino Day on Twitter with the hashtag #iam4rhinos.

Four key rhino facts:
• There are five rhino species (listed in order of greatest threat of extinction): Sumatran (Asian), Javan (Asian), Indian (Asian), Black (African) and White (African)
• Despite having poor eyesight, rhinos are able to rely on their smell and hearing senses to navigate
• The name white rhino comes from the Dutch "weit" (wide), in reference to the animal's wide muzzle.
• Sumatran rhinos are hairy, being closely related to the extinct wooly rhinos.

About WWF

WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

 

Llega alarmante el Día Mundial del Rinoceronte;
especie al borde de la extinción.

Washington, DC, 20 de septiembre, 2013 - El Día Mundial del Rinoceronte, que se celebra el 22 de septiembre, llega este año con una urgente preocupación debido a la creciente caza ilegal que está llevando a los rinocerontes hacia la extinción, indicó el World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Tan sólo en Sudáfrica la cacería ilegal aumentó en más de 5,000% desde 2007. Más de 600 rinocerontes han sido asesinados en Sudáfrica este año, mientras que en 2012 se registraron 668. En Asia, se ha disparado la demanda de cuerno de rinoceronte debido a la falsa creencia sobre sus propiedades medicinales, a pesar de que estudios científicos demuestran que el cuerno de rinoceronte está compuesto por pelo fino compactado y no tiene ningún componente curativo.

"Cada uno de los rinocerontes del mundo están amenazados por la caza furtiva en este momento", dijo Barney Long, Director del Programa de Conservación de Especies de WWF. "La masacre de rinocerontes está fuera de control y arruina décadas de trabajo de conservación así como los medios de subsistencia de quienes dependen de ellos".

Terminar con el tráfico de vida silvestre requiere tanto de la colaboración internacional entre los países como de la coordinación interna entre los organismos de gobierno, ya que es un crimen transnacional que cruza las fronteras de los países de origen, tránsito y destino.

WWF insta a los gobiernos que participarán en la apertura de la Asamblea General de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU) en Nueva York, para aprovechar la oportunidad y acelerar los esfuerzos para combatir el tráfico ilegal de la vida silvestre.

WWF se reunirá la próxima semana con los gobiernos de Gabón y Alemania, en la sede de ONU, durante un debate de alto nivel sobre las amenazas que la caza furtiva y el tráfico ilegal representan para la biodiversidad y la estabilidad internacional. A principios de este año, un informe del Secretario General de la ONU declaraba que el crimen contra la vida silvestre constituye una grave amenaza para la paz y la seguridad en algunas zonas.

El evento, "La caza furtiva y el tráfico ilegal de vida silvestre: un delito multidimensional y un reto cada vez mayor para la comunidad internacional", se llevará a cabo en la sede de ONU el 26 de septiembre de 2013.

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Datos interesantes:
• Hay cinco especies de rinoceronte, listadas en orden de mayor peligro de extinción: Sumatra (Asia), Java (Asia), India (Asia), negro (África) y blanco (África).
• A pesar de tener mala vista, los rinocerontes son capaces de confiar en sus sentidos de olfato y oído para desplazarse.
• Video- Serie: Alto al Tráfico Ilegal de la Vida Silvestre en esta liga: http://wwf.to/19eLAgY

 

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