US bars sale, trade of white rhino horns
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The last remaining species of rhinoceros that is not endangered will receive new US protection due to an intensifying poaching crisis, federal wildlife officials said Tuesday.
The southern white rhinoceros, found mainly in South Africa, will now be considered "threatened," which bars their sale and trade in the United States under the Endangered Species Act.
"This new action prohibits the sale or offer for sale in interstate commerce of this species and its parts and products, consistent with all other rhinos," said the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The action "closes a loophole that has been exploited by unscrupulous poachers and traffickers seeking to cash in on global demand for rhino horn." South Africa is home to the world's biggest rhino population but killings have surged in recent years, with 668 rhinos poached in 2012.