Rhino poaching 'at crisis point'

2012-03-14 10:57

Johannesburg - The department of environmental affairs has taken over the release of all information and statistics about rhino poaching.

Albi Modise, director of communication at the department of environmental affairs, said on Monday that rhino poaching had reached a crisis point, Beeld reported.

Several organisations had been very critical of this decision, and had accused government of trying to cover up or manipulate information, Modise said.

"The only reason why information about rhino poaching is being centralised, is because the issue has become a crisis. We want a single message to reach civil society."

The Rhino War News Bulletin, run by Tim Condon, a former KwaZulu-Natal game ranger now based in Canada, reported on Monday that 109 rhinos had been poached in South Africa since the beginning of 2012.

Modise said Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa would speak to journalists about the issue over the weekend.

This came after a Limpopo game farmer was given an eight year sentence for his involvement in rhino poaching, according to a report on Wednesday.

Jaques Els, 39, of Thabazimbi, was also ordered to pay the Green Scorpions R1m, by the Makhado Magistrate's Court, Beeld reported.

Els was granted bail of R300 000, pending his intention to lodge an appeal. He will appear in court again on June 2.

  • Eddy - 2012-03-14 11:10

    Do to the poachers what the do to Rhinos. Cut off their horn and leave them to die. Better still impose the death sentence before we loose any more Rhinos.

      ntombiya - 2012-03-14 11:32

      Exactly Eddy, maybe they should gather all SA Rino's up and move them to a central point under armed guards ! Just dont know anymore , it makes me sick !!!!

  • dewald.galjaard - 2012-03-14 11:16

    So they can shut everyone up? Let people know only what THEY want us to know? These are OUR rhinos! Not your f personal expense reports.

      Schmee - 2012-03-14 12:52

      What are you on about?

  • Renate - 2012-03-14 11:17

    i love the R1m payout to be made to the Green Scorpions and bail of R300 000....

      Greg - 2012-03-14 11:48

      It's ridiculous that money can be used to deter any real punishment on these people...they have taken the life of an innocent and helpless animal that cannot defend itself against guns and their butchering!!!

      Schmee - 2012-03-14 12:53

      And the 8 year sentence.

  • cecelia123 - 2012-03-14 11:17

    He has been given an eight year sentence for taking the livesof innocent animals, just to enrich himelf. He was also fined was also ordered to pay the Green Scorpions R1m, is this money going to be used for the Rhino's/ the fight against the poachers? Now he's released on bail, to carry on enriching himself?

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-03-14 11:18

    Jaques Els, 39- you are no different from a pimp selling underage kids for sex. Your actions are despicable. May your stay be long and may your cellmates be rhinos

      Peter-Peter - 2012-03-14 11:22

      probably wont be actual rhinos...but im sure they will 'ram' him like one

      Craig - 2012-03-14 11:31

      agreed,what a piece of sh!!

  • Cosmos O'Ndebele - 2012-03-14 11:18

    Now the picture is clearly emerging who is in the forefront of Rhino poaching ; GAME FARMERS!!! Law enforcements must go through youtube videos advertising game hunting in South Africa, its CLUE 1.

      Antipoaching - 2012-03-14 11:23

      and SANPARKS officials to extrapolate your thinking

      Antipoaching - 2012-03-14 11:24

      heres the link in case you've forgotten this story:

      cosmos.ndebele - 2012-03-14 11:39

      I said forefront, if you understand English, im not excluding other playres too. Just look at all the cases of Rhino poaching in Limpopo & begin to build a picture from there.

      Gareth - 2012-03-14 12:35

      I'm afraid you're right cosmos. But lets not paint all game farmers with the same tar-brush here. Many of them are actually on the Rhino's side. There are some rotten appeltjies that, as usual, screw it up for the rest. The most worrying thing for me is that SAN Parks are the protectors of our wildlife and they seem incapable of even handling basic communication on the problem, let alone managing a poaching strike-force. Game farmers are in it for the money and many have the love of nature to back themselves up. But some are just in it for the huge hunting fees. Its not difficult to imagine that some would think 'Well my rhino's are old and unattractive as trophy beasts, so let me just take the horn and make some money back on this animal' Its not right but i'm sure it happens. What we need is government to stand up and take account!

      Peter - 2012-03-14 13:40

      Certainly some of these farmers are to blame - and the sickest thing is some vets are involved. You wonder what these people actually believe in, as many are church goers? I wonder what goes on in minds like theirs - must be scary stuff! Or does the dominee preach that what they are doing s right?

      Craig - 2012-03-14 15:10

      Partially right Cosmos, last week five Sanpark officials were caught poaching as well and previously both Zimbabweans and Mozambicans have be arrested and killed while poaching, so has a vietnamese female diplomat, so it looks like a right mixed bag of sub-humans involved in the murders.

  • CraigB - 2012-03-14 11:20

    This seems odd, when the experts on the ground, for example Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, are right there to answer any questions. Now, a journalist has to get hold of DEAT in order to get as response about rhinos. That's no real obstacle in theory, but I remember what it was like trying to get info out of DEAT officials at the time of the Jolly Rubino in Richards Bay. You could be standing next to a KZN Wildlife spokesman and not be able to get a comment from an eye-witness about what was actually happening, but only from some desk-jockey in Pretoria. Moreover, seeing as rhinos are being poached in Hluhluwe, the site of Dr Ian Player's legendary Save the White Wino campaign, all those experts have effectively been muzzled in favour of government spin doctors. Apparently one doesn't need a media bill in order to stifle freedom of expression.

  • Arlene - 2012-03-14 11:23

    We certainly need support from government or we wont win this battle but maybe there are a few back handers????

  • Gert - 2012-03-14 11:37

    Sad really that farm murders are not given the same high priority treatment ?

  • pierre.laing - 2012-03-14 11:41

    Impose sanctions on China!

      Jan - 2012-03-14 12:00

      Pierre, I like what you are saying but man I need some of that stuff youre smokin before I can visualise it becoming a reality

      Jessica Wright - 2012-03-14 12:38

      I agree. Why are most of the clothes we buy in SA from china when we have such a high unemployment rate right here?

  • Greg - 2012-03-14 11:45

    It is so sad to hear of how careless people are with the life of an animal... these people should receive far heavier sentences!!

  • Sidney - 2012-03-14 11:53

    There are 6,000,000,000 (six billion) people on the planet right now and, at best only a couple of thousand rhino, when it comes to the poaching of any species that is endangered, human rights considerations should be suspended and the perpetrators summarily shot on sight. Just think what will happen when all the wildlife on the planet has been obliterated by man's greed and stupidity, then it will be open season on each other and we will be killing for example, redheads because it will be believed that their hair is is either a medicine or good for the libido. How stupid are we, and we believe ourselves to be the superior species on the planet.

      Gareth - 2012-03-14 12:39

      Sidney, correction, we are now 7 Billion. Also, i have it on good authority that the 'Shoot or be shot' principle is in place with regards to poachers. So you're concerns are valid and addressed.

  • Garth - 2012-03-14 11:58

    How does one cover up, one's own participation, in a certain illegal activity? One centralises the reporting to emerge only from one's own office. Secrecy Bill anyone?

  • Jacqui - 2012-03-14 11:59

    Please don't take the trouble writing to the ministry. They do not answer you. Please do not expect to get information about Rhino poaching any more, the ministry, incapable of action will now hide all information, thus making sure we won't know when the last Rhino has been killed and it's horn shipped to the government's buddies in China. I don't know what must happen to this country, I really don't.

  • J.A.Rademan - 2012-03-14 12:09

    R1.000.000 - R300.000. Is peanuts to these guys a large horn can apparently fetch R750.000, and he had 30 of them, come on... can judges not do math, when the hand down sentences. I hope the foreclosure branch does better.

  • Ricki - 2012-03-14 12:22

    Rhino's are under severe threat of a genetic bottleneck which will result in the eventual loss of the species as genetic variability will be lost. The threat of poaching to the species needs to be dealt with NOW, before it is to late. Black rhino's are already on the brink of extinction as their effective population size (the breeding pop) is only 10% of their total population size, this makes it a very small population indeed. Like the abalone poaching crisis, their seems to be a lack of political will to deal with the issue. When there is this much money involved there must also be corrupt polititians on the payroll.

  • Barbara - 2012-03-14 12:43

    I am so TIRED of reading the 'same old same old' stories! Why don't we just kill all the animals so that this endless stories of hurt can stop! The Government is not going to do anything! The vets and game farmers that we think have wildlife interest at heart turn out to be the masterminds! In the meantime our country gets raped and mutilated!

  • Gmale - 2012-03-14 13:15


  • richard.rautenbach - 2012-03-14 13:16

    Only way to stop it is to cut their "horns" off as well

  • Peter - 2012-03-14 13:36

    I hope Els has a horny experience while in prison. He should never have been granted bail, the crime is far too severe. Hope when his time comes he rots in hell for eternity.

  • J.p. - 2012-03-14 13:38

    Comments such as "cut the poacher's horn off" has become rife and is an indication of the frustration of South Africa's caring people, however, the question must be asked who are actually benefitting from rhino poaching? The people that are caught are the 'ground personnel' so to speak and there are millions out there waiting for an opportunity to poach. They are the 'expendables' and killing them like the vermin they are will not solve the problem. FOLLOW THE MONEY TRAIL!!! Example; a friend of mine de-horned his rhinos to keep them safe. As is required by law, he got a permit for this from DEA. That same night he was attacked and the horns were stolen. Where did the poachers get their information from? The above scenario has played itself out many times over the past few years. Where lies the solution? Not by adhering to the rules of Cites as it is not working now and has not worked for many other species. Not by viewing wildlife as holy, but by adopting a reasonable and logic approach to it. Place value on wildlife; it has worked extremely well here. The opposite is true in Kenya where a hunting ban in 1977 resulted in this country loosing 76% of its wildlife up untill now. I do not hunt, but I have seen an approach of placing value on wildlife work and work well. If anybody out there has a better solution, I would love to hear of it.

  • valcooperRSA - 2012-03-14 14:19

    I reckon stick these poachers in an enclosure with whats left of the rhinos and let the rhinos have their day....poor animals do not deserve this....makes my blood boil

  • WildlifeMargrit - 2012-03-14 14:35

    Just wish we could trust this was in the best interest of the rhino...sigh! Hope it truly is.

  • Rob - 2012-03-14 14:54

    Similar to copper/metal theft, there is a lucrative value chain here involving many people and groups (and no doubt some in high profile/responsible positions). It is absolutely right to identify the guys at the forefront and apply the law/justice system to them, but it is eaqually important to identify and deal with all in the value chain. On the other hand, maybe the way forwards really is to legalise, structure and regulate the sale/export of horn and turn it into a more humane process.

  • Stargeewiz - 2012-03-14 14:58

    a 120 today the 14the March 2012. Outraged SA Citizens against poaching is keeping a decent record of all poaching on Facebook. I see this everyday, wrong figures being reported. This is the first one, using the correct figures.

  • Craig - 2012-03-14 15:04

    Els wasn't convicted of involvement in Rhino poaching, he was convicted on a charge related to selling of rhino horns, taken from live animals, or so this mornings article said. I hope Tim keeps reporting from Canada as all information on rhino poaching is likely to dry up if left in the hands of the government, many of those caught recently work for Sanparks.

  • Pieter Cooke - 2012-03-14 19:41

    WHY can't anyone do something about this? What's wrong\r\nwith this government? Or do they see it as yet another money\r\nmaking scheme? Our so called Government will be the cause\r\nof the start of rogue groups aiming to get rid of all\r\npoachers,and what's going to happen then? The rogues will be\r\nprosecuted because they're stopping the government from\r\nmaking money for their own pockets!!!!! Sickining!!!

  • Jonathan - 2012-03-16 21:22

    It took the Department of Enviromantal Affairs how long to relise that Rhino poaching is at a crises piont. This at currently 1.62 Rhino killed per day in SA of which the most in KNP and they oly realise it now. Where have they been the last 3-4 years??? I am sure that from now on after they have taken over the release of statistics on Rhino poaching a dramatic decrease in the killings of Rhinos will imediatly be noticed. Just amazing!!!!

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