Report By: Nina Rai
London, 19 June, 2012
Animal rights activists have found an ardent supporter in the Duke of Cambridge, who today morning over BBC breakfast TV, hit out at wildlife poachers for wanton killing of endangered rhinos.
Prince William, 29 was lending his support to a program protecting rare rhinos. Aspinall Foundation, a conservation charity which has just returned three rare black rhino born and raised in captivity in Kent, England back in to the wilds in Tanzania.
To protect the three rhino cubs they will be guarded full-time by armed guards. It may be noted that rhino horn can fetch up to $60,000 (£38,000) per kilo in the black market.
The demand for rhino horns is most in Asian markets, where it is believed that the powder made from rhino horn can cure diseases including cancers and also perceived to act as an aphrodisiac. However, there is no medical or scientific proof to back this claim.
Prince William, who happens to be royal patron of the wildlife charity Tusk Trust, told BBC "Along with elephants, they're two of the most heavily poached animals currently in the world."
The Duke of Cambridge, even condemned those who participated in such illegal trading for being "extremely ignorant, selfish and utterly wrong." Conservationists warn that poachers are killing more rhinos in Africa than ever before.
It is estimated that although black rhinos are among the "critically endangered" species. 245 black rhino have already been killed this year out of a balance population of 4,500 approximately. In 2007, 13 black rhino were killed in South Africa as compared to 434 in 2011.
A highly concerned Prince William urged: "There's a massive need for education on poaching... rhinos are very vulnerable animals and I think a lot of people don't realize what happens and how rhino horn, or ivory, ends up in a particular area.”
Further he said: "I think [we need to] make people aware of how delicate and fragile these animals are, and how much damage we are doing to them and to the wildlife and natural ecosystem around them just by our neglect and ignorance."
Last week Prince William flew down to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park near Folkestone to meet three endangered black rhinos before they were reintroduced into the wild. There he came face to face with a five-year-old female rhino called Zawadi, whom he personally fed.
The Duke also spoke of his love for rhinos and recalled the time he spent at a friend’s reserve in Kenya, where he assisted in hand rearing rhinos. One of the rhinos he had helped to rear named Max, was sadly killed just this year by poachers.
An act the Duke of Cambridge described as a "complete waste". "Sadly he ran into the wrong people and he is now on someone's mantelpiece somewhere probably," he added derisively.
Source: The Daily Beast
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