— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 14, 2017
Customs officials in Thailand declared this past Tuesday that they impounded 21 rhino horns weighing in at roughly 110 pounds and worth almost $5 million, Reuters reports.
This seizure is one of Thailand’s biggest successes in their fight against the illegal poaching trade in recent years. The country has become a major trading hub for the flow of illicit animal parts.
“It’s the biggest confiscation of rhino horns in five to 10 years,” said Somkiat Soontornpitakkool, director of Thailand’s Wild Fauna and Flora Protection division. “These horns are huge, which means they came from big rhinos.”
Customs found these enormous horns after randomly checking the luggage of two Thai women who were traveling back to the country from Ethiopia. The two women ran off when they realized what was happening, and Thai police have issued warrants for their arrest.
“The rhino horns we confiscated this time are the most beautiful horns we’ve ever seized from this airport,” a statement from the Thai customs said, according to ABC.
According to Reuters, there are only 29,000 rhinos left in the wild today (80 percent of which are in Africa). A little over a hundred years ago, the world’s rhino population was 500,000.
The UN banned the international trade of rhino horns to stop the drastic decline in rhino populations, but there is still considerable demand for the product in many Asian countries, where it is ground up and used in homeopathic medicines, including those that treat cancer, and as an aphrodisiac.
Next, read up on the recent decision to likely make the rhino horn trade legal again in South Africa, before checking out the Indian park rangers that are shooting poachers on sight.