Rhino conservationist who helped found Kenya game reserve dies in South Africa

Published April 22, 2013

| Associated Press

A game reserve in Kenya plans to hold a memorial next month for Anna Merz, a conservationist who sought to protect the rhinoceros from systematic poaching that has severely depleted its numbers in Africa.

The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy says Merz, who had moved to South Africa, died April 4 at the age of 83. It describes her as a "visionary" who helped found the reserve, which has grown its rhino population despite increasing pressure from poachers that kill the animal for its horns.

Demand is growing in Vietnam and elsewhere in Asia where rhino horn is believed to have medical benefits despite evidence to the contrary. The horn is made of keratin, a protein also found in human fingernails.

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