Rhino poaching out of control

2010-07-05 00:00

RHINO poaching continues to escalate at an unprecedented and unacceptable rate in South Africa. A further 32 rhinos were slain recently, bringing the tally countrywide this year to 124.

However, there is no imminent danger of the species becoming extinct, South African National Parks (SanParks) said in a statement yesterday.

SanParks have lost 55 rhinos, the provinces 38 and the private sector 31 rhinos.

Of these, five were black rhino and 119 white rhino.

Meanwhile a female rhino is still alive after suffering horrific injuries inflicted by poachers.

They had darted her from the air and sliced off her horn with a chainsaw before leaving her and her tiny calf to their fate at Tugela private game reserve near Ladysmith last week.

However, the month-old calf was found dead of starvation nearby.

The managing director of the reserve, Johan Geldenhuys, said yesterday that despite having survived between three and five days in the veld, as well as a second round of sedation during her rescue, the rhino mother’s chances of recovery are still about “fifty-fifty”.

”We are keeping a close eye on her for any secondary infection,” he said.

The poachers had cut into the rhino’s skull and nasal cavity and left her to die. The wounded animal was spotted by a professional hunter earlier this week and details of the crime were pieced together.

So far no one has been arrested.

SanParks chief executive Dr David Mabunda said in a statement yesterday that the escalating level of rhino poaching is both distressing and unacceptable.

But, he added, the figure is still below one percent of the existing populations of black and white rhino, and well below the annual growth rates of the species. There is therefore no danger of imminent extinction of these populations.

“The rhinos lost through poaching throughout the country constitute approximately 0,6% of the estimated white rhino population of 19 409 and approximately 0,3% of the 1 752 estimated black rhino population.”

The growth rates of white and black rhino are set at between six percent and 11,5% and three percent and 6,5% respectively.

Mabunda said joint operations involving police, SanParks and provincial environmental crime prevention teams have resulted in 42 arrests, 22 of them in the Kruger National Park, this year.

On Tuesday, a Vietnamese, Xuan Hoang (29), was sentenced to 10 years’ jail for possession of seven rhino horns he was trying to smuggle through O.R. Tambo International.

Mabunda urged citizens to report any suspicious activity to the police, and especially to be on the lookout for low-flying Robinson R44 helicopters with concealed registration numbers that are often used in rhino poaching.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.