Blog about animals
Selected the best cow in Germany
Fishing ban proposed near Rockall after rare scientific finds
Life and death on the riverbank
Baboon shot dead after escaping from Knowsley Safari Park
Birdwatch: Peregrine falcon
Iceland's fin whales are endangered. Stop this bloody cull
The pitfalls of elderly dog insurance
Valley where Edward Carpenter, gay rights campaigner and socialist, walked
Green groups warn government of national parks hunting backlash
Demand for ivory destabilising central Africa
Dog walker found neighbour trampled by cows, inquest hears
Cat stands for election in Mexican city
I hear some hip cat's running for mayor in Mexico. That gives me an idea
Wader chick fever grips birds and spotters alike
Philippines destroys five tonnes of elephant tusks
The Dwyfor is surely one of the loveliest of Welsh rivers
New to nature No 107: Typhochlaena costae
How to beat the midges this summer
Controversial herring gull cull gets green light
Whaling's day in court is a sea change for conservation
Australia censures Japan for 'scientific' whaling
The young red deer stags were on their hind legs boxing, just like hares
Our garden's blackbirds started their nest-building early this year
UK wildlife and nature hit hard by erratic weather
  Horn seizure prompts rhinos warning
The largest-ever seizure of smuggled rhino horn in Europe shows the "stark reality" of the threat facing rhinoceroses, conservationists have warned.

Wildlife campaigners said the latest seizure of 24 white rhino horns by the Czech Republic provided proof that South Africa's bid to begin a legal trade in the highly sought after product would be dangerous for Africa's rhinos.

Czech police said they had arrested 16 people and seized horns worth about £3.25m, breaking up an international gang that was allegedly smuggling horns from Africa to Asia.

Officials said the gang hired Czech nationals who went to South Africa as hunters with permission to shoot one rhino, keeping the horn meant strictly as a personal trophy. The horns were then handed over to the gang to be smuggled to Asia.

At least 448 rhinos have been poached in South Africa since the beginning of the year and some 2,142 of the animals had been killed since 2008 in the country, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said.

South Africa recently announced plans to apply to legally sell its stockpile of horns to address demand for rhino horn and prevent further poaching, at the next meeting of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 2016.

But conservationists are concerned that legal sales of products such as rhino horn or ivory fuel demand, providing an incentive for more poaching, and make it easier to sell illegal items.

Rhino horn has become more valuable by weight than gold, cocaine or heroin, amid rising demand from Asian countries such as Vietnam where it is used, despite no evidence, as a treatment for disease and even as a hangover cure.

IFAW's director of wildlife crime and consumer awareness programme Kelvin Alie said: "Illegal trade alone is nudging rhinos to extinction.

"The seizure of so many horns, and the arrest of so many people at one time, throws into stark reality the very real threat to rhino populations."

He said that selling the stockpile might make short-term financial sense but could have serious consequences for rhinos.

IFAW also said the latest seizure showed how big a problem wildlife trafficking is in the EU.

The organisation's UK director Robbie Marsland said: "Europol estimates a global wildlife trafficking is worth 18-26bn (£15-22bn) per year.

"If the EU is to stop the organised criminals involved in wildlife trafficking here in Europe it needs to do more to build law enforcement capacity in the countries where these endangered species live and are at risk."
'Wild' animals in travelling circuses benefit no one
The intoxicated world of the spotted flycatcher
Fishing quotas can be redistributed to favour smaller vessels high court
Madagascar battling worst locust plague since 1950s
A broody sparrow meets his match
Climate change is happening too quickly for species to adapt
The weird and wonderful world of the naked mole rat
Australian woman seriously injured during Spanish bull run
Spain's endangered Iberian lynx brought back from brink of extinction
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T rex tooth found embedded in prey, restoring dinosaur's reputation
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Research on animals in UK rises by 8% to exceed 4m procedures
Animal testing it's time to talk about it again
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New to nature no 109: Anochetus hohenbergiae
England's ceremonial mayors eschew fur to support animal rights
Birdwatch: Corn bunting
Madrid declares war on plague of raccoon and parrot invaders
Snow leopards and wild yaks becoming 'fashion victims'
Horn seizure prompts rhinos warning
Threatened seabirds 'neglected' in plans for Scottish marine protected areas
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Spanish national park could lose Unesco status over illegal boreholes
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Measuring carbon age in ivory could help combat poaching, study shows
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A walk by the river triggers memories of a bygone age
Whales flee from military sonar leading to mass strandings, research shows
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Owen Paterson vows to rid England of bovine TB with badger culls
Gassing of badgers considered in plan to eradicate TB in cattle
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Australian bushman claims to have footage of legendary night parrot
Secret badger shoots pose 'a risk to public safety'
Cheshire police seize dog believed to have killed Pomeranian
Whale watching season is back - but how close is too close?
Plan to ban wild animals in travelling circuses 'goes too far'
Morrissey donates Channel 4 payout to Peta campaign against foie gras