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To save the rhino and the soul of a continent

October 17th, 2013
03:55 PM ET

By Lucky Gold, CNN

Mahatma Gandhi once said, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

By that standard, Africa is failing its wildlife population, and in particular the endangered rhino.

Amanpour has reported before on this tragedy – what's become an organized crime wave against Mother Nature.

Since 2007, rhino deaths have increased by a staggering 3,000%.

In Asia, where rhino horn is believed to be a cure-all, or just a status, demand has never been higher.

And the poachers are becoming more sophisticated, using helicopters and machine guns to hunt their prey, prompting authorities to respond in kind.

In Kenya, there is even a plan to implant a microchip in the horn of each of the country's 1,000 rhinos.

But will it turn the tide?

South Africa – with the world's largest rhino population – tried micro-chippping, but poachers were one step ahead, killing the rhinos and removing the chips.

Some say the answer is to poison the rhino horn with a toxin that doesn't hurt the animal, but makes the human consumer ill.

Still others insist it will take a full-scale military commitment to save this glorious wildlife from extinction – and also save the soul of a continent.

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