Rhino: SA reaching out to Thailand

2012-05-30 22:56

Johannesburg - The government has reached agreements with two countries in Asia, and is targeting a third, as it reaches out to the continent with the highest demand for rhino horns in an attempt to curb poaching.

Environmental affairs deputy director general of of biodiversity and conservation Fundisile Mketeni said on Wednesday a memorandum of understanding between South Africa and both Vietnam and China on rhino poaching had been completed.

"We agreed on the contents. All that we are waiting for is for the minister and her counterparts to sign,"he said.

"We have agreed as officials... It is a ceremonial thing to sign but we are already working together. The next consumer state is Thailand - we have not started any deliberations."

Mketeni was speaking at the first National Rhino Conservation Dialogue in Midrand.

His department announced that a total of 227 rhinos had been killed illegally since the beginning of this year.

Of the rhino killed, 137 were from the Kruger National Park and in Limpopo 31 rhino were killed.

A total of 148 arrests had been made in the same period.

At the briefing, the Hawks warned that if current poaching trends persisted, the end of the year could see 556 rhino killed.

"The number is based on formulae that we work on with the daily rate of rhino that are killed and then we forecast to see what figure we will stand on by the end of the year," Colonel Johann Jooste said in Midrand.

"It might be that we have some significant arrests and it would affect the forecast number... But the figure is just based on the daily rate."

  • Michael - 2012-05-30 23:20

    legalise the trade in rhino horn!!!!!dammit.

      Adil Smit - 2012-05-30 23:49

      No, it's a trade that's based on the lie that the equivalent of nails i.e. rhino horn actually cures cancer and impotence. Trade has to be based on something substantial.

      marnusmnorval - 2012-05-31 04:23

      What people will do for money.. its sad

      Lyndatjie - 2012-05-31 07:51

      Legalise it? Do you NOT understand the concept of demand and supply? By legalising the trade, the number of consumers will grow as those unwilling to buy illegally will now join the market and demand will increase. Now when there is no more LEGAL horns to feed this insane increase in DEMAND - where do you think people will then turn to again? ILLEGAL POACHING with a bigger demand now having to be met! A viscious circle where the Rhinos are the losers! And to run a legalized trade - our GOVERNMENT must control the supply? What happens when their stockpile is finished and there is not enough Rhino to meet the demands? What happens when their "conservation plan" to increase the Rhino population is not sustainable because of lack of funds or lack of interest? The very same government who can't even provide housing for all our people or access to basics. So before sprouting what you read from money-grabbing economists - THINK! Go after the consumers and the suppliers. And redicule them in the press and media for believing that the "compact hair" of an animal can give them a bigger horn...

      Ant - 2012-05-31 11:14

      Michael, I also originally thought that trade would help the rhino as there are good arguments being made in favor of trade. On the surface it seems viable and is in the best long term interests of the species. Scratching a little deeper reveals a much more complicated set of arguments, where the reality of trade (farming) versus conservation become less straight forward. After much debate and research I no longer agree with trade at all. This is based on real information obtained from legitimate sources, not a bunch of guys in a get-rich-quick rhino horn scheme. There are lots of sources for valid information...I started at OSCAP (outraged SA citizens against poaching) on the net and facebook.

  • Eduard Bloem - 2012-05-30 23:44

    why don't the government spend the amount of time, effort and money on stopping poaching or finding a solution to the problem instead of bitching about a stupid painting... no offense but rhino's are going to go extinct at the rate the government is working.

      Gerda Malherbe - 2012-05-31 04:41

      I wish the govenment and anc could disappear at the same rate as the poor, poor rhinos

  • OzzyIn - 2012-05-31 00:10

    Forget accords or agreements, there people in Asia need to be educated. They need to be educated that Rhino horn products/derivatives do NOT provide a panacea to any of man's ills. It is the same with Killing Tigers. Until the leaders of these Asian countries tell and convince their people of this, poaching will be a lucrative business.

  • Cindy Mendes - 2012-05-31 00:36

    Eduard Bloem I sooooo agree with u, if they could only put in the same amount of time in catching the real criminals out there as they have been putting into this stupid painting of Zuma's super small willy, SA will 1 be a better place and 2 we will still have our beautiful rhinos...

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