The Guardian: Mining poses new threat to world’s greatest rhino sanctuary

Photo by Jan Willem Grandia

Photo by Jan Willem Grandia

Plans for an opencast coalmine on the boundary of South Africa’s Hluhluwe-Imfolozi reserve could pave the way for even greater poaching and pollution

The surface of a pool near the Imfolozi river ripples as a white rhino, its young calf close by, lowers its mouth to drink. Rhinos have roamed the Earth in such a way for 40 million years. Humans, by comparison, are new kids on the block.

Yet it is modern man that threatens to drive these stately creatures to extinction. Figures released last week show that 558 rhinos have been slaughtered in South Africa so far in 2014, putting it on course to be the deadliest year of poaching since records began.

Well-armed gangs continue to run riot, shooting the animals with impunity and hacking off their horns, said to be more than worth their weight in gold on the black market. Now conservationists warn of a new threat – voracious mining – that could drive the endangered animals to the brink. Read more-

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