Extinction warning for SA rhino

2012-08-23 12:50

Johannesburg - Rhino could be extinct within the next 25 years if they are not protected, an environmental affairs rhino issue manager said on Thursday.

"At the rate at which these animals are being slaughtered, over the past 20 years or so - if that continued there would be no rhino to talk about in another 25 years or so," Mavuso Msimang told reporters in Johannesburg.

"The rate at which they are born currently is higher than the rate at which they are taken out, for now. They are not about to be extinct, not next year or shortly... But how do we contain this to have natural growth rates?"

Msimang was addressing reporters at the Johannesburg Country Club on the consultative dialogues the department of environmental affairs has had with various parties in the rhino industry.

He said the purpose of the dialogue would be to report to government and make various recommendations in order to save the rhino.

Legalising trade

SA had a responsibility to conserve and protect rhino because it had the biggest rhino population in the world. The rhino was also one of the "big five".

Msimang said there had been serious consultations which he hoped, at the end of all the discussions, would influence policy.

"Government is serious in seeking solutions," he said.

The issuing of permits, legalising trade, technology, intelligence and safety and security were among topics discussed.

"Security has to be priority number one... Security must be beefed up and it must be treated in a very sophisticated manner," he said.

"You require a combination of activities to save rhino... that includes good conservation strategies."

Msimang said the arguments for and against trade also raised important issues including the estimation of the demand for rhino horn.

"If it could be established that trading is going to increase security for the rhino, it is going to encourage propagation of the rhino species - if it could - I would find it difficult to recommend against it."

Msimang said the trade and ownership of rhino horns was a fad internationally.

"The use of a horn is a symbol of wealth.

"As long as you have people who have money to dispose of and as long as South Africa produces rhino and is unable to protect them - the threat to the population will continue," he said.

Msimang said the consultations continued and would formally end in September.

This year 339 rhino had been killed in SA, the department said on Wednesday.

  • lizette.wilsenach - 2012-08-23 13:01

    What about the rest of the big 5? It's all about money!!

  • tednhet - 2012-08-23 13:16

    We are going to have to put the Rhino's onto viagra. The reproduction process has to improve rapidly. :)

      lynne.glover.9 - 2012-08-23 13:17

      What an incredibly idiotic comment.

      bakers.dozen.14 - 2012-08-23 13:57

      how many horns do you think he needs

      Desilusionada - 2012-08-23 19:23

      Erm Lynne, Whether said in joke or not, but plse swallow your comment. My company actually makes, amongst others, tailor made medication for animals (and humans) who need viagra type medicine to increase a population. Provided that there is a big enough cow population, this could be considered, taking into account the rate at which rhinos are killed. Gestation periods cannot be shortened, but the correct supplements can (if required) ensure a greater birth success rate. Obviously not, just an increase in rhino offspring is, the complete answer, but yes it is one arrow in the quiver...

  • Winile Mawiniza - 2012-08-23 13:19

    lets save our rhino's

  • alan.yates.18007 - 2012-08-23 13:26

    Send reliable soldiers into the reserves with orders to shoot the poachers.

      joahan.smal - 2012-08-23 13:51

      Poachers are shot, but the true cause of the rhino slaughter (also elephants in east Africa, perlemoen, etc) is not addressed. A leading conservationist said; (shortened) 'Success in any conservation effort anywhere in the world will depend on the social and economic security of the people who live directly in its shadow'. Africa's wildlife and environment is doomed as long as we have despotic leaders that only pay lip service to providing opportunities for its people while chasing the 'mighty dollar' for personal gain regardless of the consequences. South Africa is a prime example of money before everything else. Fracking, mining sensitive areas and deliberate waste dumping are all actions that will eventually destroy the fragile balance that we now still have and then another cash cow (tourism)will eventually also disappear. I cannot understand how people that are supposed to have at least a grain of vision can be so damned stupid and narrow-minded. Maybe Africans will eventually get what they deserve.

      raymond.romans.5 - 2012-08-23 15:59

      We don't have reliable soldiers.

      raymond.romans.5 - 2012-08-23 15:59

      Anymore, that is.

  • garth.jenman - 2012-08-23 13:51

    Help save the Rhinos: Check the website of Jenman African Safaris - they have produced a semi naked calendar and plan to raise R100 000 for the African Conservation Trust/Project Rhino KZN

  • alan.gernet - 2012-08-23 14:02

    25 years is like 8+ election terms. Our fearless leaders can only focus on 4 years max.

  • vaughn.smit - 2012-08-23 14:19

    everyone wants to do something about it, and some of us are. Time to get off your asses. go to and enter one of the runs being held country wide on the 22nd of september, world rhino day. This is no scam and any info required can be supplied. All entries are donations and we are all volunteers who are helping to organise these events. it wont save the rhino but it may at least help. far more than just pressing 'like' on your facebook page or posting a comment here. hopefully i will see you at one of the events.

      sachasea - 2012-08-24 19:08

      Awesome Vaughn, thanks for sharing this! First I've heard of it and now I've shared it with all of my Facebook friends.

  • shaun.strydom.940 - 2012-08-23 14:26

    give all our rhino's horns a sinite "treatment" problem solved.

  • ljmostert - 2012-08-23 15:38

    Why not trade sanctions against countries where rhino products are sold?

      delish7564 - 2012-08-23 18:03

      SA won't do that. Think of who you trade with, who is a very large investor in SA? you really think SA will impose sanctions on them? Pity really, I would prefer to see less "Made in China" labels and much more "Made in........" anywhere in Africa would be good but preferably SA :)

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