Celebrity Rhino Toliwe Found Murdered by Poachers

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Toliwe, a tame, hand-raised Southern white rhino, was found in Mount Savannah, dead from six bullet wounds, and his horn partially hacked off.

In a shocking rhino poaching incident, poachers have boldly killed South Africa’s celebrity rhino, Toliwe.

Rob Dickerson, Toliwe’s owner, told The Times that the rhino was most likely still alive as the poachers were sawing off the horn. It was later reported that someone flying over Mount Savannah nature reserve saw the murderers trying to remove Toliwe’s horn, and called authorities.

Toliwe was a tame rhino, who was known to approach people and allow them to pet him. He is featured in the Cell C commercial (see above) and can also be seen in Wild at Heart, broadcast on the BBC channel.

Toliwe is the Zulu word for “a baby found in the veld”.

There have been no arrests yet, and Rob Dickerson is offering a large reward from his own pocket for information about the murderers.

Asian demand for rhino horn continues to fuel the poaching crisis

There seems to be no end in sight to the demand in China and other Asian countries for rhino horn.

Experts have determined that the “growing purchasing power” of Asia and the “increasing footprint of China in Africa” is behind the skyrocketing increase in rhino – and elephant – poaching.

The rhinos are killed for their horn which, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, is still regarded by Chinese and other Asians to treat common ailments, such as fever and headache.

From the Trade Environment Database:

Eastern medicines create a huge demand for rhino horn. Traditional medicine is a matter of continuing and undimmed importance in China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Korea and in Chinatowns across the world. But much of traditional oriental medicine does actually work; the use of saiga antelope horn, for example, has been proved to be genuinely effective as a fever-reducer. Not so rhino horn. The Swiss pharmaceutical firm Hoffmann-La Roche conducted tests and declared at the end of them that rhino horn had no effect on the human body whatsoever, good or bad. Chinese scientists in Hong Kong found that rhino horn did have a cooling effect on fever induced in laboratory rats, but only when used in massive doses. Whatever explanation one might try to find, the final outcome is that rhinos now live on the cusp of extinction: not because they are out of date, but because of a rather frivolous human demand.

Despite widespread availability of affordable, OTC products to treat fever and headache, there appears to be no regard whatsoever by these countries to abide by international law, which prohibits trade of any kind in rhino horn or other endangered species parts.

China is a CITES signatory, but has yet to act in accordance with its regulations regarding trade in endangered species parts, such as rhino and tiger.


Celebrity Rhino Toliwe Found Murdered by Poachers” by Rhishja Larson originally published July 28, 2009 on EcoWorldly.


Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, an educational nonprofit organization which provides news and information about wildlife crime and endangered species. I am the Editor of Rhino Horn is Not Medicine and Project Pangolin, author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine, a writer for the environmental news blog Planetsave, the host of Behind the Schemes, and Producer for the upcoming documentary The Price. When I'm not blogging about the illegal wildlife trade, I enjoy gardening, reading, designing, and rocking out to live music.

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