Rhino bush war a losing battle

2014-04-20 08:45
Rhino calf. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Rhino calf. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Cape Town - Soldiers and game rangers waging a bloody war along the border of the Kruger National Park and Mozambique are fast losing their battle as they struggle to save our rhino.

In a special report by the Sunday Times newspaper, it has been found that poacher villages are flourishing across the border. One poacher interviewed drinks single-malt whisky, drives a 4x4 and is building a 26-room lodge.

No different to fully-fledged wars, these nightly excursions involve heavily armed insurgents, helicopters, soldiers and mutilated animals. Last year, 47 poachers were killed in the world famous park – but the rhino death toll was much higher.

Despite the sterling efforts of 500 park rangers, soldiers and private contractors, the Kruger is losing its battle as last week the rhino death toll in the park sat at a staggering 184 for this year alone.

The Sunday Times estimates that at this rate at least another 500 rhino will be killed in the park before the end of this year.

Trading in rhino horn has been banned since 1976 but this has had no effect on the demand. In China and other Asian countries it is used as treatment for a range of ailments and has more recently been touted as a cure for cancer.

It has however, been found that it has no medicinal value.

Read more on:    mozambique  |  nelspruit  |  animals  |  poaching  |  southern africa
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