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Czech zoo burns rhino horns to protest against poaching

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Dvur Kralove nad Labem, East Bohemia, Sept 19 (CTK) – The zoo in Dvur Kralove nad Labem burnt down 33 kilogrammes of rhino horns in protest against illegal trading in animals and poaching on Tuesday.

In 2014, the zoo staged The Burn Horns, Save Rhinos campaign, within which it burned down roughly 60 kilogrammes of horn.

The zoo burned down the horns from died animals, the horn sawed off by the zoo staff and the horns that were broken away by the animals themselves.

One of the horns was from the zoo in Plzen, west Bohemia.

Armed men from the Customs Authority brought the expensive horns to the bonfire on Tuesday.

The zoo stored its horn in bank vaults in a safe place.

The Dvur Kralove nad Labem zoo is the main organiser of a global campaign warning of the critical situation of the rhinoceros in the wild.

One kilogramme of horn may fetch as many as 60,000 dollars on the black market.

Murdering rhino is a direct consequence of trading in their horn, Kenyan conservationist Richard Leakey said.

He said he did not doubt that intelligent, educated people across the world were aware of the horn from the critically endangered animals being unable to bring any use.

Leakey said the burning of the horn and the warning of the absurd behaviour of those who adjudge any value to the horn was an excellent idea.

Leakey has helped dramatically curb poaching in Kenya. He was the first to stage the burning of horn and ivory in Kenya in 1989.

Leakey said yesterday the event was a clear message to African countries that horn should never be sold.

He said he believed that if the countries like the Czech Republic raise their voices against the sale of horn, many other countries would listen.

One should not look at the burning of horn as burning of money, but as a fact that we are buying the future of the rhinoceros, Leakey said.

Zoo director Premysl Rabas told CTK at the time some businesspeople in South Africa were seeking the legal sale of horn, a clear message should be sent.

“We do not think we are sending the most vocal message. As many as possible should be sent. This should be like a puzzle putting together the information that will hit the whole world that horn is no trading commodity and those buying it are stupid,” Rabas said, adding that he presumed the zoo would continue with this kind of activities.

The Save the Rhino International organisation said poachers had killed at least 7,100 rhinoceroses in Africa since 2007 and a mere 25,000 remained in the wild.

The Dvur Kralove nad Labem zoo is one of the most successful breeders of the rhinoceros in the world. Now it has 19 of them.

So far, 56 rhinoceroses have been born in it, the first in 1976.

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