Endangered rhinos still being slaughtered despite efforts

�They think �How many $50s from tourists would it take to equal $10,000 from a poached rhino?� � Mr Duncan said.

Last year was the worst poaching toll in two decades, with at least 1300 white and black rhinos killed in southern Africa for their horns, which are bought at $75,000 a kilogram by South-east Asia�s increasing middle classes as a symbol of wealth and as a false health tonic.

�It�s now mainly the Vietnamese who buy it as a status symbol, as full horn, or wives shear off a bit and serve it in a drink, but even their children are starting to use it as a hangover cure,� Mr Duncan said.

There is tiredness in his voice after 27 years campaigning when about $6 million was raised to help protect the 19,000 white and 5000 black rhinos left in southern Africa.

�In Hanoi, one bloke told a colleague he would buy the last-ever horn, as he did not consider the species important,� Mr Duncan said.

A 2009 Australia-Vietnam trade agreement does not include wildlife products and the Save Foundation wants the Federal Government to put it in a plan being developed after an economic declaration in March, in addition to Australian companies being policed in Vietnam where trade and use of the horn is known to help negotiate deals.

In Zimbabwe, 11 rhinos were poached last year but the Foundation has not given up its fight and recently trained its first 16 wildlife guards, who will each be paid US$250 a month.

�We also had a good year, with 70 rhino births in Zimbabwe,� Mr Duncan said.

Zimbabwe�s gain was at neighbouring South Africa�s cost, after poachers used corruption and organised crime to kill at least 1215 rhinos, including more than 700 in the Kruger National Park last year.

Visit www.savefoundation.-org,au.