SA goes high-tech to save rhino

2012-04-16 22:34

Cape Town - South Africa has tightened rules on rhino hunts and will use micro-chips and DNA profiling to counter a poaching bloodbath that has killed 171 animals this year, the environment minister said on Monday.

New rules now allow hunters to kill only one white rhino in a year and officials must consider whether an applicant's home country has enough legislation to counter illicit trophy trade.

"The new norms and standards will strengthen the regulatory framework in terms of monitoring the legality of hunts and control over rhino horns," said Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.

"Stricter provisions relating to hunting were required to ensure processes are standardised and to reduce possible abuse of the system," she added.

With fears over bogus trophy hunts, would-be hunters must now belong to a recognised hunting association in their home country and supply a hunting curriculum vitae and a copy of their passport.

Any trophy must be micro-chipped by an official who will keep a sample of the horn. Hunters must have international export permits relating to trade in endangered species.

All rhino that are sold or moved must be fitted with a micro-chip in the left shoulder and in both of their two horns, and any horns removed legally for trophies or found through natural death must also have a chip.

Any horn longer than 5cm must also be marked with a serial number, date and weight which will be kept in a national database.

Blood and horn samples of live rhino that have been darted to be moved or treated must be also be collected for DNA profiling.

South Africa lost 448 rhino last year, with poachers hacking off the horns to sell in Asia where they are used in traditional medicine in the false belief that they have powerful healing properties.

The critically endangered black rhino will no longer be hunted for trophies, said department spokesperson Albi Modise.

  • Assegai - 2012-04-16 22:46

    Still not enough! We need more!

      Paul - 2012-04-21 17:31

      @ War Lord, there are some trying to do more, i know of a very cleaver project about to go to test and it promises to be very efective

  • Adil Smit - 2012-04-16 22:47

    It's an endangered species - NO to trophy hunting

      mario.dippenaar - 2012-04-16 23:37

      What motivation would farmers have to continue breeding rhinoes, if they can't make a profit of them? They aren't kept around to satisfy your Eco guilt, they are there to be exploited like any other natural resource.

      John - 2012-04-17 07:16

      @DerpyHooves There are other ways of generating profits from endangered species. Keep or breed any of the endangered species and people will pay to see them in their natural habitat. The can also be sold to other breeders for profit. Sure farmers will not make an initial 'killing' out of this as the would by a one time trophy hunt.

      mario.dippenaar - 2012-04-17 08:22

      @John, I know farmers have a affinity toward working with the land and animals, but they still need put food on the table and should be allowed to pursue profit.

      John - 2012-04-17 08:39

      @DerpyHooves Agreed. However, when it come to endangered species..... Rather use other species to put food on the table in the meantime. Like us, we're breeding and training dogs to assist authorities against rhino poaching. Not that much money but still we are making some.

      Jacqui - 2012-04-17 12:09

      Derpyhooves, Sorry that the Eco guilt ridden people are spoiling your hunting?.People like you are so far removed from nature it's unreal.

  • Poloyatonky - 2012-04-16 22:48

    would have loved to live in africa before it was spoiled by those who went in search of resources that were not there in their continents. now it has resulted in mass slaughter of our wildlife and looting of our precious metals....God bless her for her richness was her curse

      Assegai - 2012-04-16 23:02

      You are a fake Poloyatonky. Our Poloyatonki knows his punctuation and is clever. He isn't some dumb troll.

  • SA - 2012-04-16 22:52

    It’s not hunters you need to be targeting – poachers don’t care about rules and regulation. The police, military and parks board need to use manpower, helicopters, automatic weapon to fight poaching. Close down our boarder; protect them with everything we have. It has to be noted that this poaching has seriously increased since we open our borders with Mozambique. Has anybody been into the Mozambique side of the Kruger park – trust me there is no animals there, in 5 days we did not see a single thing – so sad. This alone says everything!

      Eternity - 2012-04-17 10:14

      I agree that its not the hunters that are the problem but these loop holes allow the poachers to slip through the system if they are caught

  • basilsp - 2012-04-16 22:55

    Why do they still allow legal hunting of any wild animal at all? We are no longer in the dark ages except it seems we are...

      Hannah - 2012-04-16 23:05

      they must stricken the rules on Asians because also the white shark in mozambique sufferd under this dark age traditions

      Jacqui - 2012-04-17 12:12

      Hunting is not of this day and age.It should be abolished. How can we teach our children to be compassionate if their fathers can't wait for them to get old enough to hold a gun?.

  • thulanit3 - 2012-04-16 23:08

    Workers at game reserves often implicated,,,why playing with our minds,,,!

  • Barry - 2012-04-16 23:09

    Why allow anyone to hunt even one of these gracious animals? How could any normal human being pull a trigger on one!! You must be twisted to do that....

  • anoldl - 2012-04-16 23:15

    Its high tym our government did something about this rhino potching. I like...

  • Schalk - 2012-04-16 23:26

    the only way to protect the rhino is to introduce a system where the animals are herded on a 24/7 basis. The poacher does not care about microchips and numbered horns - they will shoot the animals and remove the horns because there is NO response time from game wardens - from day one the've been playing catch up and get there too late - makes you think doesn't it. Once again the wrong strategy is implemented, go back to basics and guard the rhinos day and night and do net let them out of your site - come on guys, how difficult can that be - can someone please explain!

  • j.c.s.mailbox - 2012-04-16 23:44

    Shame our government still got the cat on the tail...when will they ever get some brains or some kind of intelligent thinking in their top storey's????? THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HUNTERS AND POACHERS!!! The same is their viewpoint about murderers and thieves...they are all mixed up!!

  • Jayson - 2012-04-16 23:50

    I don't get it,,, you put a couple of numbers on the Rhinos horn, estimate the weight of the horn, then let some skinny ass american with a fat waLlet walk into our country and murder that Rhino. Oh wait,,,,,, let me not forget,,we chip it aswell. These animals pair for life. There is no leniency towards murder.

      Gemma-Leigh - 2012-04-17 05:49

      Totally agree with your statement, although if you'll forgive me, I couldn't help but laugh at your one comment. We're all mainly worried about the protection of this species and you're worried about their love lives on top of it. It's very sweet, comical, but sweet nonetheless.

      John - 2012-04-17 10:22

      @Jayson Rhinos do NOT pair for life!!! After a calf is born the male and female go on their separate ways!

  • Mike - 2012-04-17 04:23

    Stricter controls, using military personnel, should be brought in to protect our heritage. Over and above that; harsher sentences should be passed down to those caught and convicted of poaching - Perlemoen, Rhino and the likes. We are talking murder here people. Not only are these low-lives murdering our animals for their primeval beliefs, they are invading the sanctity of our country.

  • gillian.d.toit - 2012-04-17 04:39

    You need guns, trackers, dogs, helicopters whatever to hunt these criminals down. A micro-chip and DNA testing is not going to stop a bullet.

  • Gemma-Leigh - 2012-04-17 05:45

    This one has one way over my head. I don't see how this will prevent poaching and in-turn, protect the species. Nevertheless, if someone could inform me, what happened to that old idea. I read somewhere once that there was an injection they were proposing that would permanently stain the rhino horn red or something, making its ivory value decrease drastically and thereby killing the market...what happened to this proposition?

      smbonani - 2012-04-17 06:00

      I think there was a rhino that died from that injection when they were testing that injection but i stand to be corected

      Terence - 2012-04-17 06:24

      They tested that idea unfortunately the rhino who got the injection died :'(

      Jacqui - 2012-04-17 12:15

      Smbonani the Rhino that died was ill. A Post Mortem done on the animal showed that and so it's death had nothing to do with the injection.

  • brionyl.french - 2012-04-17 06:18

    I say stick poison in the horns and watch the asians drop like flies!!! then watch how they stop the need for this poisoned horn and then the market will leave the rhino to thrive.... Kill them we are South Africa with the highest crime rate in the world... So what if we kill a few Asians.... They killing poor defenceless animals...

  • Arlene - 2012-04-17 06:45

    Only a small consolation - all hunting of these magnificent animals should be band

  • Zighom - 2012-04-17 06:53

    Poachers smuggle their horns out of the country. They don't declare them to customs to check for micro chips etc! So all this isn't addressing the problem at all

  • Allan - 2012-04-17 07:16

    WHAT WE CAN DO TO SAVE THE RHINO!!! Lawrence Anthony in his book 'The Last Rhinos' mentions Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Malaysia & Taiwan amongst others, whose governments are not doing enough to stop the trade in rhino horns into their countries. We can bring pressure on these governments by: NOT BUYING ANY PRODUCTS MADE IN THESE COUNTRIES & NOT GOING ON HOLIDAYS TO THESE COUNTRIES. A worldwide Tourism & Trade boycott by us, the public, can go along way to SAVING OUR RHINOS

      John - 2012-04-17 09:46

      Guess you'll have to dump your cell mate.

  • David - 2012-04-17 07:21

    Isn't it possible to fit tracking devices into the Rhino's horns. If the Rhinos then get shot and their horns are taken, the poachers could be tracked and even maybe the main smugglers.

  • marc.derooy - 2012-04-17 07:31

    Brilliant work keep it up

  • marc.derooy - 2012-04-17 07:33

    Brilliant work keep it up

  • my10cent - 2012-04-17 07:41

    Endangered species and trophy hunting on it is allowed? WTF!!!

  • Roz - 2012-04-17 07:47

    Will they only stop rhino hunting when there aren't anymore left to hunt? What will become of SA tourism when the Big Five becomes the Big Four?

  • edward.herbst - 2012-04-17 07:49

    These laws are only for law abiding citizens . and only serves to hurt the legal operator. Just as all the other laws in the country serve to aid the criminal.whilst the population have their hands tied and are powerless to defend them self. MUCH stricter penalties and permission for the farmer to fire on sight at any person who is not authorised on the property. a little over the top ????

  • LJSanWild - 2012-04-17 08:03

    Sadly what government still does not get is that the reason why they are not getting to grips with the rhino poaching situation lies in their own ranks. While they play their political games and concentrate on self-enrichment they are not leading by example. Lower down the food chain government officials are incapable or disinterested in taking pride in their work and they are even less interested in applying their minds in respect to the job on hand and on how to excell in their respective positions. Corruption and favouritism is at the order of the day! The Department of Environmental Affairs is to a great extent dysfunctional. Officials are not trained for the job in most instances and where adequet training and knowledge is found departments are under-staffed. There is a huge lack of funding and all around nobody actually cares; especially not about the rhinos that are slaughtered on an increasing level. One can call on Molewa all you like, she unfortunately is not going to admit her departments are in a mess, neither is she going to admit that she herself is incapable to do this job.

      John - 2012-04-17 08:35

      Hooray at last someone who talks sense. The whole Dept of Envir Affairs are bloody useless, along with Customs, how else could a container loaded with Rhino horn get as far as Hong Kong undetected? Because the powers to be, cANCer are turning a blind eye to their new slanty eyed bosses. All these new measures are smoke and mirrors.

  • Elmarie - 2012-04-17 09:06

    'New rules now allow hunters to kill only one white rhino in a year'... So how many hunters are allowed to hunt per year? Will this not encourage illegal hunting more? Stop the hunting of our Rhino completely!!! Sorry, but this is just NOT good enough!!!

      John - 2012-04-17 09:42

      Elmarie, instead of trolling around here blowing off on something you know zero about, rather spend your time researching the facts regarding controlled hunting versus poaching and conservation. Start in Google you'll be amazed at how enlightened you can get in a few minutes. Poachers are the problem, dummie.

  • Ralph - 2012-04-17 09:09 stupid are people??! Trophy hunting is such a tiny part of the "problem"'s the poachers you bloody morons!! The sheer stupidity of some people STILL astounds me...

  • Amanda - 2012-04-17 09:23

    I fear that the only way to save the rhino is going to come from the owners and maybe the public. The measures being implemented by the government is not going to stop poaching.

  • Eternity - 2012-04-17 10:12

    "New rules now allow hunters to kill only one white rhino in a year" Change this to be zero white rhinos

  • Richard - 2012-04-17 10:13

    It's simple - if a species is endangered, no hunting, no killing. Blue cranes are endangered and they also have substantial value and are easy to breed and to rear, but one cannot hunt them, kill them, trade with them or even keep them (without special permits).

  • Jacqui - 2012-04-17 12:07

    That's good news. Now grill those Vietnamse and Chinese, threaten to break relations and that will help too.

  • WildlifeMargrit - 2012-04-24 21:12

    Glad to see technology being put to good use. Now, it seems to me that not only catching the poachers but adequately prosecuting and sentencing them is a key issue to deter illegal crime.

  • seanpresherhughes_1 - 2012-04-30 22:49


  • damonsb - 2012-05-03 08:43

    they should not put these things on the news,just do it and tell us later how you captured 500 people in one day.Now poaches know what your up to...and will be one step ahead of you untill all horns are sawed off

  • allison.hosking1 - 2012-12-12 13:33

    Why is there still hunting allowed???? Stop all legal hunts too.

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