Poachers kill rare white rhino in Kenya

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January 4, 2010 5:24:32 AM PST
The head of Kenya's wildlife conservation agency says poachers have killed a rare southern white rhino.

Julius Kipng'etich says poachers killed the white rhino in central Kenya on Dec. 28. Rangers tracked down the suspected poachers and suspected buyers on Sunday and arrested them. Kipng'etich says all 12 suspects are Kenyans.

The attack occurred about a week after four of the world's last eight known northern white rhinos were brought to Kenya, where officials hope they will reproduce and save their subspecies.

The worldwide population of white rhinos is estimated at 17,500. Kenya had tens of thousands of rhinos in 1973. But poachers in the 1970s and 1980s decimated Kenya's rhino population. Today, there are an estimated 850 rhinos in Kenya.