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South Africa celebrating record breaking rhino poaching year.

The BBC reports that although an impressive 333 rhinos were poached illegally last year, this year enterprising criminals have already killed an all-time record topping 341 of the critically endangered creatures. Whether or not they will continue darting them and sawing off their horns for black market export is yet to be determined, but it would be safe to assume that given the profitability of the deed and their desire to make 2011 a real record holder, it will go on. Rhino horn is used for a lot of pseudo-science nonsense, be it bullshit medical cures in Vietnam, trendy ornamental daggers in Yemen, or simply using it instead of a damn Aspirin in Chinese Traditional Medicine. Still, the demand for what is basically just fingernails continues to skyrocket. While South Africa may have the largest black and white rhino population on Earth, rhinos are slow to reproduce and populations tend to respond poorly to being left to bleed to death. South Africa’s government has started a study to find out whether or not legalizing the trade could help bring down poaching… you know, by making the killings not technically poaching. This solution should really help save not rhinos, but South Africa’s credibility in the face of being completely unable to protect one of the greatest parts of their country’s biodiversity and basically the only tourism draw they will likely ever have.

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