What were the most popular rhino stories of 2011? Find out here.
In 2011, mainstream media took more notice of the rhino crisis, but there is still much work to be done to thwart the “perfect storm” of myths, greed, and corruption.
Starting with #10 and counting down to #1, here are the Top Ten Rhino Stories of 2011:
#10. Rhino killings in South Africa linked to antique rhino horn market
The buzz about “rhinoceros horn cups” in 2011 finally put the connection between antique rhino horn and rhino killings in the spotlight, and our closer look at yet another trade loophole became a popular topic.
#9. Zimbabwe rhino conservationist wins Goldman Prize
Zimbabwe rhino conservationist Raoul du Toit was awarded the prestigious Goldman Prize for his work in initiatives that have helped to develop and maintain Zimbabwe’s largest remaining black rhino populations.
#8: A positive step from the Chinese medicine community
The Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine (RCHM) in the UK issued a statement condemning the use of rhino horn in Chinese medicine.
#7: South African game farmer laundering rhino horn with Thai “prostitutes”
Safari operator/game farmer Marnus Steyl was named by South African media in the rhino horn trading racket involving Thai national Chumlong Lemtongthai. (Steyl was unsurprisingly granted bail.)
#6: Revisit the shocking events that exposed the world’s most famous (alleged) rhino horn syndicate to the world
In preparation for the “Groenewald gang” April 2011 court date, we compiled a list of the scandalous revelations that made headlines around the world. (The next court appearance is slated for April 2012.)
#5: Antique rhinoceros horn cups create media frenzy
The “record-breaking” appraisal of Chinese antique rhinoceros horn cups created a big media hubbub.
#4: Scientific studies conclude rhino horn is worthless as a remedy
We re-introduced three scientific studies confirming that rhino horn has no medicinal value.
#3: China pumping millions of dollars into encouraging the use of rhino horn
Nearly a year after we began raising questions about the connections between China’s traditional medicine industry investments, research proposals about rhino horn harvesting, and live rhino imports, our suspicions were confirmed.
#2: World Rhino Day 2011
From Australia to Zimbabwe, the message was loud and clear: Rhino horn is NOT medicine!
Visit the World Rhino Day 2011 page here.
#1: Vietnamese Javan rhino declared extinct
The world’s last Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus was murdered for her small horn.
Vietnam’s tiny rhino population struggled against several formidable obstacles, including the traditional medicine trade, questionable government funding decisions, and habitat loss.
If only the recommended conservation programs had been implemented and supported by the relevant authorities within Vietnam, the impact of these obstacles could have been lessened.
Four additional stories which were close to the Top Ten and worthy of mentioning here:
- Extinction of Western Black Rhino Confirmed
- Critically Endangered Black, Sumatran Rhino Horns Confiscated in China; Four Arrested
- Rhino Horns Seized in Hong Kong; Shipment Arrived from South Africa
- Concern Grows Around Role of South Africa’s Rhino Horn Suppliers
The Top Ten list was compiled using a combination of the following:
- Web traffic – number of visits (overall and spikes)
- Social media engagement (Facebook®, StumbleUpon, discussion forums, etc.)
- Additional media activity (news websites, traditional media, other blogs)
Check out last year’s “Top Ten Rhino Stories of 2010“.
All images © Saving Rhinos LLC, except photo: © Michelle Gadd/Goldman Environmental Prize