Under threat from poachers, the rhinos who live in… KentBlack rhinos at Kent zoos may be targeted by poachers for their hornsAspinall foundation looking to imply 24-hour security to protect them
in South Africa, up almost 50 per
cent on the number for 2011.
The majority of the animals were killed in the Kruger national park, the country’s biggest wildlife reserve.
Damian Aspinall of the Kent zoos said: ‘It is tragic and beyond belief that, as we do everything possible to restore these magnificent animals safely to the wild, the human traders who seek to profit from their slaughter should bring their vile activities to the UK.
‘In the light of what Kent police have told us is a genuine threat, we will do everything to protect our herds. Our volunteers will be recruited responsibly after careful vetting.
Their presence will enable us to be vigilant and alert at every point at which the rhino could possibly come under threat.
‘We would also ask that visitors to Howletts and Port Lympne report any suspicious behaviour to staff and volunteers.’
Keepers help celebrate the first birthday of baby Rhino Inkosi
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Targeted: Kent Police warned the zoos this week that their black rhino population is under threat
The Aspinall Foundation, which claims to be the UK’s leading wildlife conservation charity, made its appeal for volunteers to help guard its herds of black rhino after receiving a warning from the Kent police animal specialist on Wednesday.
Its rhinos are kept initially amid hundreds of acres of Kent countryside, but are also involved in a ‘Back To The Wild’ programme which aims to send captive-bred animals from endangered species to their natural habitats.
Nine months ago three black rhinos from Port Lympne were returned safely to Tanzania where they continue to flourish.