Warren Buffett's Son Aids Anti-Poaching

Gives $24 million to save rhinos

Environment Illegal Rhino Horn Ivory Poaching Conservation Africa

An illegal haul of rhino horns.     Photo: Stockbyte/Getty Images

While Warren Buffett is offering $1 billion to whoever can correctly forecast all of the matchups in the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, his son, Howard Buffett, is endeavoring to curb Africa's rhino-poaching epidemic.

The son of the billionaire investor and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. chairman donated $24 million to South Africa's national parks service on Friday to fund a high-tech campaign against rhino poaching. This year, 172 rhinos have already been poached, according to South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs.

"South Africa remains the principal source of rhino horn for the illicit trade," according to a report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The report estimates that 3,226 horns were taken from rhinos poached in Africa from 2009 to September 2012, which excludes last year's massive hike in rhino poaching.

"This is very much like our drug war on our U.S./Mexican border," Howard Buffett told reporters, referring to how illegal hunters from Mozambique infiltrate Kruger National Park (KNP) in South Africa.

The money will fund a 30-month campaign in Kruger National Park and provide rangers with a helicopter, an aerostat balloon, and land vehicles equipped with sensors to track down poachers.

In parts of Asia, rhino horns are worth more per ounce than gold. Believed to be a cure-all for everything from cancer to hangovers, one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of rhino horn can fetch between $65,000 to $100,000 in Vietnam.

Edna Molewa, South Africa's Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, told Reuters that "fighting and winning the battle in South Africa is fighting and winning the battle in the world."

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