No single solution for rhino poaching

2012-11-26 22:48
There is no single solution for rampant rhino poaching because of the enormous sums of money at stake the WWF has said. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

There is no single solution for rampant rhino poaching because of the enormous sums of money at stake the WWF has said. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - There is no single solution for rampant rhino poaching because of the enormous sums of money at stake, an activist organisation has asserted.

"All of us want a single solution to be applied: Let's just make it happen and make it go away - the problem, but it's not as simple as that. We're no longer dealing with a conservation issue; we're now dealing with an issue of crime," Dr Morné du Plessis, CEO of the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF) told News24.

He said that the criminal gangs had massive financial muscle that made poaching rhino a lucrative exercise.

"There's so much money sitting in the system and so many poor people that you take one guy - one ground soldier - out of the chain and then there's 150 guys tomorrow ready to step into his boots. For $1 000, they will take risks."

In the early twentieth century, white rhino were hunted almost to extinction with only about 50 animals left in Africa. Through the efforts of the then Natal Parks Board, their number increased to around 20 000.

Relocating rhino

Black rhino, conversely, numbered about 70 000 until about 1970, and that plummeted to 2 500 in 1990. Today, there is an African population of 5 000.

"WWF as an organisation across Africa got very serious about black rhino and in South Africa, we have slowly helped bring back black rhino.

"We now have an African population of black rhino of around 5 000 animals of which we have about 40% - so almost 2 000 in South Africa," said Du Plessis.

The WWF runs a programme of relocating rhino when they reach the carrying capacity in their environment. Rhino do not breed when they reach the limit that the environment will support.

Over 500 rhino have been killed in SA this year, up from 448 in 2011 and 333 in 2010. Du Plessis warned that the number poached would easily pass 600.

"It will go to 600 - and probably over that because December is quite a happy month for poachers. A lot of the guards are off and so on."

Rhino horn is valued at over $65 000 per kilogramme and the demand is mainly driven by consumers in Vietnam where the horn is ground to a powder and used for a number of ailments.


"In Vietnam which hasn't had any tradition for using rhino horn for babbelas or for cancer or for the prevention of these things, have now suddenly surfaced and through viral marketing techniques, people who're sitting on rhino horn stockpiles, have suddenly realised they can make a hell of lot of money out of the predicament of these people," said Du Plessis.

He warned that the gangs operating rhino horn syndicates were hardened criminals and motivated by the financial gains in exploiting people who are ill.

"There's an exploitation that's happening of the predicament in which people find themselves and these guys are ruthless. They're making money and driving demand."

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

Read more on:    wwf  |  rhino poaching

2 held for rhino poaching

2014-04-21 10:50

Read News24’s Comments Policy 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
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Cope: Zuma must listen to religious leaders

Cope has called on President Jacob Zuma to listen to religious leaders calling for him to come clean on the Nkandla saga.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Monday Sir Lowry's Pass - 13:45 PM
    Road name: N2 Westbound
    HEAVY TRAFFIC over Sir Lowrys Pass - expect delays
  • Monday Somerset West - 13:45 PM
    Road name: N2 Westbound
    EXPECT DELAYS due to high volumes
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Tab P7500 10.1" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gives you a better experience for...

From R4999.00

I'm shopping for:


There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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 network.


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.