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Alabama zoo to probe death of artificially conceived rhino calf

By Verna Gates BIRMINGHAM, Ala (Reuters) - A necropsy will be performed on a four-month old rhinoceros believed to have been the first of its species to be born through artificial insemination in the United States, officials from the Montgomery Zoo in Alabama said on Monday. The endangered Indian rhino, which had become a popular attraction, was found dead on Friday, the zoo said. "It was a shock. We definitely feel the loss of Ethan," Steve Pierce, the zoo's program services manager, said of the rhinoceros.

Kenya to microchip all rhinos' horns to beat poachers

Kenya will place microchips in the horn of every rhino in the country in a bid to stamp out a surge in poaching the threatened animals, wildlife officials said Wednesday. "Poachers are getting more sophisticated in their approach," Paul Udoto, spokesman for the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), told AFP. "So it is vital that conservation efforts also follow and embrace the use of more sophisticated technology to counter the killing of wildlife."

Asian rhino conference hailed as major step forward

Environmentalists on Friday hailed measures including tough anti-poaching initiatives to help boost the dwindling population of Asian rhinos agreed at an international conference in Indonesia. Officials from Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nepal held a two-day meeting this week on Indonesia's western Sumatra island to discuss the plight of the animals. Two out of three Asian rhino species -- the Sumatran and Javan rhinos -- are critically endangered, and the third, the greater one-horned rhino, is classified as vulnerable.

S. Africa rhino poaching toll hits record near 700

Poachers have killed a record 688 rhinos in South Africa so far this year, more than the entire number slaughtered in 2012, according to figures issued Sunday, World Rhino Day. South Africa is home to the world's biggest rhinoceros population but killings have surged in recent years to feed black market demand in Asia for their horns, from just 13 reported incidents in 2007. South Africa's renowned Kruger park, which borders Mozambique, suffered the largest number of killings, with 425 rhinos killed since January, according to the environment ministry figures.

Chinese star power enlisted to battle rhino poaching

Rhino conservationists are harnessing Chinese celebrity power in a bid to cut Asian demand for rhino horn, which has caused record slaughters in South Africa over the past six years. Chinese-American actress Bai Ling has been deployed to South African game reserves as part of an awareness campaign on illegal rhino killings, which look set to break last year's record 668 poachings. The actress, who is in her 40s but remains coy about her age, is known for roles in the US television series "Lost" and "Entourage" and films like "Wild Wild West" and "The Crow".

US bars sale, trade of white rhino horns

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.

Endangered black rhino born at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo

By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - An Eastern black rhinoceros, a critically endangered species, was born at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo this week, the first in 24 years, officials said on Thursday. The male calf, weighing 60 pounds at birth, was born on Monday to first-time mother, Kapuki, age 8, according to the zoo. The father is 27-year-old Maku.

Poachers shoot dead rhino in Kenyan capital park

Gunmen have shot dead a white rhino in Nairobi's national park, a brazen raid in one of the best guarded sites in Kenya, wildlife officials said Tuesday. Amid a surge of rhino and elephant killings across the country, the shooting of the rhino in the heavily guarded Nairobi national park -- the headquarters of the government's Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS)-- illustrates how easily poachers are decimating the country's large animals. Poachers, who killed the rhino late Friday, hacked out the horn from its head and escaped, said KWS spokesman Paul Udoto.

US zoo to breed rhino siblings

In a desperate bid to preserve a critically endangered species, a US zoo is taking the controversial step of trying to mate brother and sister captive Sumatran rhinoceroses. The coupling of six-year-old Harapan and his older sister Suci could take place as early as August at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio, animal keepers say. The tactic has stirred strong emotions, but Terri Roth, director of the Lindner Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife, said she has no other choice.

US zoo to breed rhino siblings

In a desperate bid to preserve a critically endangered species, a US zoo is taking the controversial step of trying to mate brother and sister captive Sumatran rhinoceroses. The coupling of six-year-old Harapan and his older sister Suci could take place as early as August at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio, animal keepers say. The tactic has stirred strong emotions, but Terri Roth, director of the Lindner Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife, said she has no other choice.
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