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It’s Rhino Week on iWild

And who better to start with than the Black Rhino, today’s Critically Endangered All-Star? With poaching at a 15-year high in 2009, the Black Rhino needs committed conservation more than ever. CITES trained attention on the issue, and countries pledged better law-enforcement efforts. But promises are cheap. So far this year, the news has not been encouraging. In March, the WWF assailed the release of six men charged with rhino poaching in Zimbabwe (where the conviction rate for rhino crimes is a paltry 3%). That same month, Tana, a 9-year-old black rhino shot in a poaching attack at Kenya’s Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, died of her injuries; the same attack, two months earlier, killed another black rhino, the first fatalities at this extraordinarily vigilant reserve. And now the Rhino Conservation blog brings news that Somak Holidays will proceed—despite widespread criticism from conservationists in the region and a 4,000 signature-petition—with plans to build a 30-tent lodge inside black rhino habitat in the Masai Mara Game Reserve. The time for promises, pledges, and weak enforcement is past. To save the rhino, we need binding commitments, penalties, fines, and strong enforcement. And we need it now.
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