News24

African rhino poaching a crisis

2012-04-03 22:41

Nairobi - Wildlife officials say rhino poaching in Africa has reached crisis levels with nearly 1 000 animals killed in the last five years.

Wildlife experts from across Africa said in a Tuesday statement they would lobby for harsher penalties and fines for people involved in illegal rhino horn trade.

In a meeting in Nairobi, wildlife experts and and private conservation groups also resolved to reach out to the governments of countries where there is demand for the rhino horn and work with them to create stringent laws against the trade.

China and Vietnam are some of the destination markets for the horn, where they believe the horn has medicinal qualities.

Last year 448 rhinos were killed in South Africa which has the highest rhino population in the world. Conservationists say this year poachers have killed 135 rhinos already.

Comments
  • Mario Haddon - 2012-04-03 23:13

    im so disgusted and pissed off at this poaching! why dont sandf utilise their unused army(with no missions) to catch these poachers!!

      Ed - 2012-04-04 13:37

      you think thats bad...Helen 'GodZille' Zille has given permission for 900000 wild animals to be exterminated in the W.Cape...under the guise of 'controlled hunting'... check my facebook profile out, seeing is believing.

  • Adil Smit - 2012-04-04 00:25

    Most important is to educate people in China and Vietnam

      Leon - 2012-04-04 15:05

      a Huge undertaking that might only change the minds of about 3% It is their culture and beliefs and that won’t easily change. The government needs to drastically increase the prison time for illegal trade and poaching. Maybe if the sentence is so severe it would deter some from doing it.

  • Dee - 2012-04-04 02:22

    Curbing DEMAND in Asia is the only way to stop the slaughter. 1)Make a pseudo 'snuff' movie with Asian sub-stitles showing a rhine horn user convulsing, frothing at the mouth and dying in agony from poisoned rhino horn ... it should go viral on YouTube. 2) Have a MASSIVE media campaign in Asian countries spreading the story that all rhino horn is now toxically poisoned (the fools use rhino horn based on a myth - spread another one) 3) Just 1 MASSIVE shipment of deadly poisoned rhino horn and a few dead humans is totally justified 4) Asian Death Penalty to apply for rhino horn 'drug' trafficking 5) International laws on murder of endangered species to carry same penalty as human murder.

      Mart - 2012-04-04 03:10

      Dee....please report to the Public Protectors office...you're hired.

  • Mart - 2012-04-04 03:05

    Everything that Dee has said 'plus' VAT. Once these mofos are done with the rhino,elephants , snakes etc. your daughters are next, to be bought and sold like commodities ....those aren't my words by the way. This slaughter must be stopped in it's tracks now....and if killing people is what it will take, then let's do it. Each rhino kill is a direct attack on SA's constitution and it;s people. The Asians are giving us the finger and saying ;too bad' there's nothing you can do about it. African Poachers are sellout and a danger to your future.

      Amanda - 2012-04-04 08:53

      Agree totally. the tortoises , snakes and quite a few other small species, not even talking about the abalone are heavily targeted by Asians. Child trafficking and kidnappings are rife, also "exports" to the east. There must not be lobbying for harsher sentences, making a a really horrific example of these users and poacher MAY become a deterrent. The one's caught should be thrown to the lions. Drug traffickers in the east do not receive much sympathy so should rhino poachers also not receive any sympathy.

  • Walter - 2012-04-04 05:49

    The article says 135? The last count I heard was it had reached 150 and still climbing. It seems that at last people are waking up, BUT, is this incompetent Government, especially the minister responsible "waking up" and about to do anything drastic? I think not and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the authorities are up to their necks in it!

  • Albert - 2012-04-04 06:05

    Educating the Asians is a very noble idea, but think of it this way; hypothetically we want to stop South Africans' braai culture. We can tell them that the carbon forming on that crispy rind of lamb chop fat has carcenogenic qualities and that it might also be the case with the meat. The reaction will only be something like 'My grandfather ate lamb chops for breakfast (as well) and lived to the age of 93'. In fact my grandfather did, both... Nobody wants to see rhinos deformed by de-horning, but give us a workable solution other than supplying the market with legal horn. There are app. 5 000 rhinos in private hands that can deliver more than three tons of horn every 2 years. Use it to buy time and until we can mobilise the rest of the world to fight this battle against the Asians on a different level, a level of boycotting their products and their services. DSTV is in bed with them, Apple Mac has massive factories in China and apart from the vehicles that are dumped here, let us compile a list where the Chinese are involved and do something. Ask Standard Bank how they expect us to support them when their partner is Chinese? I have nothing against any bank, but I closed my Standard Bank account in protest to their association with the Chinese; what are you willing to do? Killing poachers will not solve the problem, but killing the market by flooding it will.

      Ant - 2012-04-04 06:25

      Albert, the reality is that the market is too big to flood. This idea that we can harvest horn as a viable option is being spread by people with a vested interest in ensuring trade in horn is made legal again so that they can sell their stockpiles and make a quick buck. The legal trade in horn did not work in the first place, this is why it was banned. If trade were legal, the most financially viable option for people is to buy as many rhino as they can, shoot them and then sell the horn. This is what happened before trade was banned. Ask the Kruger National Park what happened to 100 rhino they sold to a farmer. There were 9 left a couple of years later. Don't be fooled by the legalization lobby as much as their arguments may make sense at face value.

      Ant - 2012-04-04 06:45

      The rest of what you say has loads of merit. We need to get the government and private institutions to take this seriously.

      sian.okeeffe - 2012-04-04 09:25

      Albert - they tried this with ivory, and all it led to was more slaughter of elephants because the Chinese government was profiteering. Read this article to get an idea: http://www.eia-international.org/after-ivory-a-legal-trade-in-rhino-horn-will-do-nothing-but-harm

      Albert - 2012-04-04 10:13

      Thanks Sian, I have read it some time ago, however, poaching of elephants increased massively over the past thirty plus years in Kenya notwithstanding the fact that they have opposed legal sales of ivory vehemently. Gabon has lost 50% of its elephant population recently due to poaching, so my point is that the CITES ban has delivered very little results and that we should at least try a different approach to assure that we do not find ourselves in a 1911 situation where Vaughen-Kirby had to scramble to save the last twenty white rhinos. The "ban" has in effect increased the poaching effort. When the so-called medicinal hunting was stopped in 2008, rhino killed by poachers increased from 12 in 2007 to 76 in 2008 to 120 in 2009 to 320 in 2010 to 448 in 2011. Surely this indicates that existing measures are not working, does it?

      Diep - 2012-04-04 10:38

      @Albert. I agree. The problem is one of supply and demand. There is a massive demand but there is no legal supply. @Ant. Your statement that people will buy rhino, shoot them and sell the horn is factually incorrect. If you shoot a rhino, you can sell the horn once only. People will not kill the rhino. They can cut the horn off, sell it and then it grows back within 3 to 4 years, then you can cut it off again and sell it. This process can repeat itself 10 times because the rhino lives 30 to 40 years on a good game farm. That means one rhino can supply 10 horns WITHOUT BEING KILLED. Why would you be against this? Why do we refuse to save the lives of our rhino by keeping the horn from the Chinese people? They are not interseted in killing the rhino, they are only interested in the horn but the ban on trade forces them to be illegal and to kill the rhino. The ban has not worked, fact. We should try something else.

      Albert - 2012-04-04 11:07

      Diep, indications (unverified) are that the demand is app 2 tons per year. Private breeders alone can harvest roughly 3 tons every two years and then there are natural deaths that also supply horns. With our 30 tons of stockpiled horn we can buy time and this is what it is about for me, to buy time to the benefit of our rhinos in the wild. Our main problem is the lack of political will to take on rhino poaching on a diplomatic level and the question is, who are actually benefitting from maintaining a ban? Across one of our borders, Fernando S. is making a killing with rhino horn and he effectively blocks any rhino poacher follow-up operations by not pressurising the commisioner of a specific area to "be available" to grant permission to catch rhino poachers. However, when there is a function where this fat pig can stuff his face, he is one of the easiest people to get hold of.

      Diep - 2012-04-04 11:14

      @Sian. Your facts are incorrect. 96 of the 100 rhino sold to the farmer are alive and well and living in peace on a game farm. The Kruger National Park have sold more rhino to more farmers because these farmers can take better care of the rhino than the Kruger Park themselves. The farmers are making a massive contribution to increase the numbers of rhino, they spend litterally millions of rands to protect and breed rhino.You are also wrong in saying that the legal trade did not work in the firts place. CITES have not allowed a legal trade since 1975 so there has never been a legal trade.

  • braamc - 2012-04-04 06:18

    If these Asians just realize that it does nothing for there 1 inch wonders, not gonna get bigger

  • Msiza Bafana - 2012-04-04 06:19

    what are we having in wildflife for the next five if people keep on killing what we most appreciate and have. as a citizen living near this parks i have to do somthing about it when i see people doing this. please ppl lets do something if we see ppl kills this rhinos..

  • bluzulu - 2012-04-04 06:48

    Can't educate the Asians , This has been part of their culture from BC. Solution: Dehorn the Rhinos, so there is no need to poach the Rhino if the Valuables aren't available.

  • Albert - 2012-04-04 06:57

    Ant, no farmer will hunt his rhinos if he can harvest what he receives for a trophy hunt every two years and that is what actually has happened if you look at the massive population increase of privately owned rhinos over the past ten to twelve years. The objective (Asians) is not only to stockpile illegal rhino horn, but to wipe out rhinos to increase the price thousand-fold. We have been warned as early as 1993 by Miles Hilton-Barber that this was happening in Zimbabwe; poachers received payment for an ear or the tail of a de-horned rhino. I am giving you the facts and I begging you, please give us a practical/workable alternative to de-horning and legalising rhino horn sales.

  • lhfick - 2012-04-04 07:14

    This is Africa and these actions are fuelled by greed for money, when the rhinos are gone it will be something else. The rhino was declared extinct by the US last year. It is to late now. Please note that these actions are not just performed by by black people. The poachers are getting top dollar for these horns and that is what drives them. The question remains why do they want to act and take steps now to curb the poaching after a decade? Politics and polititions reaches the front pages everyday and instead of them finding solutions each party goes into their own direction. The solution lies not with one party but the time has come for all polititions to work in tandem to resolve issues like this one and put their power struggles aside. Once this has been achieved things might just be or go better. This tendency that things are currently just left for the ruling party to resolve issues must come to a end now else everything will just collapse.

  • Ashleigh - 2012-04-04 09:32

    The Anti Poaching teams are very prominent in the Kruger Park at the moment. Yesterday two helicopters were grounded and an army of guards were searching cars within the park around the Southern Area.

  • Jacqui - 2012-04-04 10:11

    www.Avaaz.org ran a worldwide petition during the week. I signed.

      Albert - 2012-04-04 10:38

      Jacqui, Alain who runs the campaign has most probably never seen a rhino in the wild. I did not sign because as much empathy as I have with a rhino that is de-horned to save him from poachers, it is more important to think about the whole population and not only one or two individuals. I have unsubscribed Avaaz as they incite emotions for their own personal gain and rhinos are a very easy tool to use. I refuse to be used by any organisation from a country where they have destroyed their own wildlife and environment and now want to tell us how we should manage ours.

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