Son of billionaire tycoon Warren Buffett commits $24m to protect rhinos
The son of US business magnate, investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett has pledged nearly $24m (£14m) for measures to tackle poaching in South Africa, which is driving rhinos to extinction.
Howard Buffett said that the sum would help fund a three-year plan in an area of the Kruger national park, which is vulnerable to poachers crossing from neighbouring Mozambique.
Measures include ranger teams, sniffer dogs, aerostats equipped with cameras and other techniques used by the US to monitor the Mexican border.
“We’re going to do it at a scale that hasn’t been done”, he said in an interview with the Associated Press.
However, Buffett Jr admitted that the scheme would not affect the soaring demand for rhino horn coming from Asia, which is chiefly responsible for the decline of the creatures.
He said there were links between poachers and armed groups but that these ties are usually difficult to prove.
“It’s so underground and it’s so difficult to rout out, but clearly it’s there, and clearly the results are incredibly negative”, he said.
“Just because you can’t prove everything doesn’t mean that you don’t keep trying to go after it.”
Rhino conservation has become increasingly difficult over the past years. Poaching increased by 5,000% from 2007 to 2012, while last year was the record year for killing in South Africa.
In February, global leaders met in London to discuss international strategies to stop the illegal killing of wildlife through enforced investigation techniques and legislation.
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