SA rhino at 'tipping point'

2012-02-23 09:41

Durban - South Africa's rhino have already reached a crucial tipping point, due to the surge in poaching since 2008, conservationist Dr Ian Player said on Wednesday.

"The red warning flags are up and anything could happen," he said at a Durban event held by KwaZulu-Natal's Ezemvelo Nature Reserve to explain the success rate of helicopters in rhino conservation.

A three-seat Sikorsky 300-helicopter was made available to the reserve five months ago by Vincent Christoforous, CEO of King Shaka Aviation in Durban, Beeld reported.

Since then, the helicopter had helped Ezemvelo's anti-poaching unit track down at least 28 vehicles which were in the reserve illegally, and had helped to locate 10 armed men.

During the same period, only one rhino was killed by poachers in the Hluhluwe Imfolozi reserve, compared to nine during the same period the previous year.

If a meaningful impact was to be made in the fight against rhino poaching, sponsorships of between R4m and R5m would be required to man four or five helicopters in the province.

  • navarrocarly - 2012-02-23 10:02

    Tipping point indeed. Shoot to kill. No questions!

      Nick - 2012-02-23 12:24

      Poisoning of the horn - being totally harmless to the rhino (host and others) - yet makes anyone ingesting the horn ill... Right - I say - up the dosage to lethal - let the vermin in the Far East who are consuming the horn - pay with their lives! Soon - word will get around amongst those backward knuckle-draggers still ingesting the horn - and they will have to stop... This iniative will have to come from private enterprise - as we all know how our pathetic central govt is 17,8Km up the anuses of the Chinese (remember the sad-sacks wouldn't even allow the Dalai Lama in for Tutu's Birthday) - so, yeah - circumvent the leeches and thieves in central government - and let the parks and privately-owned reserves - JUST DO IT.

  • tan.jade - 2012-02-23 10:04

    The government should sell the rhino horn stockpile, flooding the market and reduce the demand for rhino horn. If there is no demand then the poachers will effectively be out of work... and the money generated should be used for Rhino conservation.

      Heiku - 2012-02-23 10:25


      elspeth.hassall - 2012-02-23 10:46

      The Govt. does not have enough rhino horn to "flood" the market!

      Roberto - 2012-02-23 11:17

      The demand in the far east is so big, that a heap of rhino horns, (at R1m a pop) would be like an early Christmas for them. It would do nothing for the plight of the rhino's still alive.

      tan.jade - 2012-02-23 11:42

      a radio report yesterday said that there is 12000 kilograms of Rhino horns, surely this is enough to slow the demand down... give us time to try something to stop the poaching.

      tan.jade - 2012-02-23 12:09

      Read the comments on this link - there are a lot of people who would argue the point that selling the stock pile will in fact assist in the fight against the poaching. something has to be done and i just don't think that burning the horns will solve the problem.

  • lyn.duplessis - 2012-02-23 10:08

    Once the tipping point is reached - momentum will take over. Government MUST step in and do something to stop this in it's tracks. A total moratorium on all Rhino hunts and a complete census of both State owned and private owned Rhino to be completed with the utmost urgency. In the meantime - take no prisoners - shoot to kill. If someone is in a place where they shouldn't be then they are not there for a legitimate reason.

  • John - 2012-02-23 10:27

    "Dr Ian Player"? Is this the same guy that recently supported the killing of a rhino by a 'hunter' for R1 million becos it was 'surplus'? He sounds a hypocrite to me!

      Vicker - 2012-02-23 11:24

      Google Dr Player and John Hume, and their views on rhino conservation.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-02-23 12:34

      @John, the mere fact you don't know who Ian Player is disqualifies you from making ignorant comments about him.

  • les.cunningham1 - 2012-02-23 11:14

    @tan.jade, Your idea sounds good, but there is no government stockpile and never has been.The only stockpiles out there are small poached stockpiles and the trolls who have them need to be found, put inside and the keys thrown away and left to rot.

  • Liana - 2012-02-23 11:16

    interesting read on dehorning:

  • les.cunningham1 - 2012-02-23 11:22

    OK tan.jade , I didn't read the article "Rhino activists threaten SA boycott" before I made my commment. It appears that that the government does have a stockpile, so maybe your idea should be put in place.

      tan.jade - 2012-02-23 11:46

      i thought it was a good idea but apparently not every one shares my sentiment. all i can say is that something has to be done. these are animals, they can't speak for themselves and obviously they can't protect themselves so it is up to us to do something. even if we just slow down the process in the meantime to give us time to find another solution...anything is better than nothing and each day more and more of our planets animals are being killed because of senseless idiots that just don't care about the pain that they are causing to the animals.

  • Riaan - 2012-02-23 11:50


  • Katinka - 2012-02-23 12:04

    Its not only the rhinos they kill for some stupid made up medicine, they aldo use the bone marrow of tigers to make bone wine and sell it on the black market aswell. They have farms in china breeding these endangered beasts for this wine. I only hope and pray our rhinos dont end up in the same state...

      richard.hipkin - 2012-02-23 12:35

      But wait there is more, China also use Bear bile to "cure" stomach ailments..

  • Brett - 2012-02-23 12:40

    Implement the new radar system which has been launched in RSA. It will help combat poaching activities in National Parks and Private Game Reserves... These radar systems will be expensive, but well worth the money in the long run. Pro-active methods need to be in place for the war against thoughtless and greedy humans! Rhino poaching is way out of control now and many other species are targeted for the "Bush Meat Trade". This could be the solution to preserving our heritage into the future.

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