Poaching pushing SA rhino to the edge

2013-03-08 14:16
(File: AFP)

(File: AFP)

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

Bangkok - South Africa's white rhino population will begin to decline by 2016 if the current rate of poaching continues, authorities warned on Friday, following the killing of scores of the creatures this year.

The stark warning was issued by the country's Environment Minister Edna Molewa on the sidelines of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) in Bangkok.

"We think we will start to have problems around the year 2016," she said, adding 146 rhino have been killed illegally since the start of the year with 50 suspected poachers arrested over the same period.

Some 668 rhino were slaughtered in 2012, a grim record that on current trends will be surpassed this year.

The white rhino population is estimated at just over 18 000 and its birth rate is higher than mortality rates, according to Fundisile Mketani, an official from the nation's Department of the Environment.


But "with this [poaching] trend by 2016 - if we do not stop it - then we will see a decline", he added. "We will then be in crisis."

Rhino are hunted for their horn, which is worth thousands of dollars in Asia where it is believed to have medicinal qualities.

They have been registered since 1977 under Appendix I of Cites, banning the trade in their parts and are one of the key species under scrutiny at the convention, along with African elephants whose numbers have been decimated over recent years.

Horns from the legal trophy hunting of white rhino in SA and neighbouring Swaziland are exempt from the ban - a move some conservationists say has saved the species by encouraging game reserves to maintain large populations.

Kenya had submitted a proposal for a moratorium on the trophy trade, but withdrew it on Thursday.

Molewa "welcomed" the withdrawal of Kenya's proposal saying it would have ended the use of trophy hunting as a "management tool that can be sustainable and beneficial to the conservation of the species".
Read more on:    edna molewa  |  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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Millions of plastic particles in our food!

Scientists and researchers believe that almost five million tons of plastic is dumped in the oceans every year and it’s affecting our food.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Trying to keep time for your social commitments and friendships as well as taking care of work and health obligations can be a...read 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 24.com 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.