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Burglar dehorns fiberglass rhino at South African reserve

April 3, 2012

Rhinoceros poaching is a major problem in South Africa, but the most recent victim was a bit unusual. BBC News reports burglars broke into the Lombardini Game Farm in the Eastern Cape and dehorned a fiberglass rhino. This game reserve is home to buffalo, sable and 15 rhinos, and all have been intentionally dehorned to discourage poachers from killing the creatures for their ivory. The lifesize rhino model had been hanging above a fireplace inside the lodge at the reserve, but the criminal left it outside after dehorning it.

"We found it outside on the sidewalk with its horn cut off - the burglar was looking for money, and they didn't find any money so I suppose their eye caught [sight of] the rhino,"Susan Lottering, the reserve's owner, told BBC. "It was a mold of the first rhino that arrived on the farm, so there's a bit of history behind her and we were very proud of her."

The Associated Press reports that 448 South African rhinos were killed for their horns last year, and another 153 are estimated to have fallen at the hands of poachers this year.

Those who want to find out more about rhino conservation can make calls to South African with international phone cards and talk to their friends and family about the situation.

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