The defenders of Africa's rhinos are battling a well-financed and well-informed enemy. Poachers clear up to $60,000 on the Asian market for a single rhino horn. They have cash for the latest weaponry and to pay for inside information from some of the very people whose job it is to protect the rhinos.
Demand for rhino horn, used in traditional Chinese medicine, is fueling a slaughter of the animals in Africa. In Vietnam, the sought-after commodity is fetching prices as high as $1,400 an ounce, or about the price of gold. There, some believe ground horn can cure everything from hangovers to cancer.
Honeybees are in trouble across the U.S., but one association in Massachusetts is hoping to boost the population in its own area. The bees it currently uses have a hard time surviving the winter and battling other foes that have been killing bees nationwide. So beekeepers in Plympton decided to breed their own.
NPR's Frank Langfitt and Gregory Warner have teamed up for a series about how myth and money are driving extraordinary slaughter of rhinos. They talk with host Rachel Martin about the issue, which has repercussions from the African continent all the way to Asia.
To know how elephants are faring, they need to be counted. But how do you count them when they're hidden under thick forest canopies? A conservationist in the 1980s started to count their poop, and that helped to create a model of elephants' numbers and movement through the forest.
The number of honeybees has now dwindled to the point where there may not be enough to pollinate some major U.S. crops, including almonds, blueberries and apples. And this year brought farmers closer than ever to a true pollination crisis.
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