Target poaching kingpins, WWF urges

2012-01-12 22:39

Cape Town - Investigators need to do more to take down the kingpins of rhino poaching syndicates, the WWF urged on Monday.

CEO of WWF-South Africa, Dr Morné du Plessis, said rhino poaching is being conducted by sophisticated international criminal syndicates that smuggle horns to Asia.

"Its not enough to bust the little guy - investigators need to shut down the kingpins organising these criminal operations," he said.

The syndicates have capitalised on an in increased demand for rhino horn in Asia, particularly Vietnam.

Law enforcement officials in South Africa made 232 arrests related to rhino poaching in 2011. But, despite the increased efforts by authorities, poaching-related rhino deaths continue to rise.

Last year the the number of rhino lost to poaching reached 448, up considerably from the 333 killed by poachers in 2010 (triple the 2009 figure).

"The rate of poaching increase may appear to be faltering, but the bottom line is more rhinos than ever were poached in 2011," said Dr Colman O Criodain, WWF's wildlife trade policy analyst.

"If left unchecked, poaching gangs could put the survival of these iconic species in jeopardy."

A large proportion of rhino deaths have occurred in the Kruger National Park, where 252 rhino were killed last year.

Alarmingly, 11 rhino carcasses have already been discovered in the park in 2012.

On Wednesday, 8 carcasses were found - all adults which had been shot and dehorned.

The additional carcasses were found after an aerial search on Thursday morning.

  • foxiloxi - 2012-01-12 23:04

    Poison the horns!! A couple of dead asians will stop it quickly!!

      Squeegee - 2012-01-13 05:26

      Without the cooperation of Asian governments this will never happen. Unfortunately we know that we have NO influence over China, Thailand , etc.

      Bryan - 2012-01-13 08:44

      Is there not some sort of volunteer program where they can give me a rifle, lots of ammunition and I can go hunt Rhino poachers?

      kiwileese - 2012-01-14 08:49

      Bryan the IAPF do just that they train armys of anti poachers Damian Mander runs it

  • sizwe.nhlapo - 2012-01-12 23:19

    We just yep yep, these poachin guys have it easy

  • Elsbeth - 2012-01-12 23:21

    Hunt the kingpins of rhino poaching syndicates down and offer a very big reward for each and every one that has been taken out. Take a picture of the person and post it on every place you can think of all over the world.

      chris.debeer1 - 2012-01-13 07:38

      Hang them like they hang Drug mules same thing solve problem fast

  • Eric Schollar - 2012-01-13 00:08

    Bust the "kingpins" AND the "little guys"

  • Craig - 2012-01-13 00:19

    Think the reason why the Kingpins 'arnt bust is 'cos down the line you will find a few of ruling party buddies with their hands in the cookie jar. So no arrests gonna happen.

  • nyamithi - 2012-01-13 01:34

    stop issuing visas for chinese nationals with immediate effect. where is the government in all of this? who's minding the shop?

      John - 2012-01-13 01:54

      It is not the Chinese shooting the Rhinos. They won't get there hands dirty, it's locals and I am inclined to go with Craig on this one. it wouldn't surprise me if some of our cANCer top dogs are in on it. The poachers seem to be moving around in Kruger with impunity.

      Ed - 2012-01-13 08:09

      Ask yourselves where the hell is some governmental spokesman or comment from deat??? mail the following people and get them to start doing their jobs:;;

      Ed - 2012-01-13 08:16

      Thailand John...please do some research on how the system works. the low level poachers are from the local communities. all the horn is generally sent to either thailand or china. the same tri-ads that control the poaching also control global arms shipments, perlemoen poaching, human trafficking, narcotics and cigarettes. the fact is, these guys are powerful and they are chinese. as they exchange horns for drugs, US dollars and illegal cigarettes (the most smuggled commodity on the planet), the do so because there is demand. a crucial part of stopping the poaching and solving the problem is to stop demand. there is nothing greater than human will, so to stop that, you can win the war. using the blame game and blaming the anc (yes goverment needs to start doing something), is not going to achieve anything other than to ensure that no solution is found.

      John - 2012-01-13 08:31

      @Ed, we all know where the horns are sent, my comment was to a prior post, that the Chinese are not the ones doing the actual physical killing. Local jungle bunnies are. For the amount of kills, there has got to be someone turning a blind eye for a price. Quite frankly for the amount of corruption going on in this country, this is not a possibility but a fu...g fact.

  • Pieter - 2012-01-13 03:03

    The truth about humans are that they are ALL greedy. Rhino horns = money. Poisoning the horns will just push up the price for those impotent Asians to get a 'clean' horn. They'll just farm the poor Rhino in a country that has no animal rights. Knowledge has to be passed on so people understand Rhino horns have zero medicinal use! But I must admit I'd like to ready about guy who sufferred for days from consuming some poisoned horn!

      John - 2012-01-13 04:09

      Unfortunately trying to overcome superstitions and culture is very difficult to educate away from. Hell take our own country, crap if the PRESIDENT believes a shower will prevent HIV and the ex-President cant grasp that HIV and Aids are connected, education has no chance. If it has no adverse effect on the Rhinos put Rat Poison in the horns, then we will only kill a few rodents, YeBoGoGo

  • Walter - 2012-01-13 06:23

    It's a very sensitive issue, but the only way in which the "king-pins" will be revealed is to market the horns through a statutory controlled sale or auction of legally "acquired" horns; ie the cites ban on the sale be temporarily lifted. Set up special courts to try offenders quickly and with legislation imposing mandatory prison sentences for first offenders. The government must get off it backside and diplomatically liaise with the Asian counterparts to step up their effort in apprehending offenders with similar measure. There are numerous other measures that I would suggest..... generally, Dr Ian Player would agree with me. Am I beginning to detect the army, deployed into the Kruger, are becoming the culprits?

  • gillian.sanderson - 2012-01-13 06:46

    This is very depressing news . . . and it just gets worse and worse!Vietnam dont even have any wild life left for us to get our own back on -they've killed them all!

  • malcolm - 2012-01-13 06:56

    How do you stop and search someone with diplomatic immunity. Many of the Kingpins are Chinese diplomats. Often the goods are smuggled by road, through our borders in diplomatic vehicles. Often through Beit Bridge border, and then moved abroad by air. With a government, defense force & police force as corrupt as our, I think only private security companies, and perhaps a vigilante group are needed to take the chinese by their little horns.

  • GWsykwatcher - 2012-01-13 07:13

    Squeegee. Why on earth would we need their cooperation? A few dead Asians would soon get the message across.

  • Lorraine - 2012-01-13 07:18

    These people seem to be unstoppable!!!!

      John - 2012-01-13 08:41

      Lorraine. It certainly seems that way. If we could find a poison that will not harm the Rhinos but kill the people who are using the horns, I'm with that program heart and soul. You know I can buy ground rhino horn here. I've only seen it in the Chinese markets. Wether it is the real macoy or not I can't answer. I showed interest in it once and when I looked again it was gone

  • Peace - 2012-01-13 07:18

    I say de-ball the poachers when they get caught,so that they can feel the pain that the rhinos feel!

      kiwileese - 2012-01-14 08:53

      with a chainsaw

  • Stephen - 2012-01-13 07:33

    I still say that every Rhino must be captured and there horns removed from them. This will stop the killing of the Rhino with immediate effect this will put a lot of poachers out of work as well.This will be a shame to see the Rhino without a horn but you at least saving a life.

      wendy.warwick3 - 2012-01-13 16:05

      It will not work as they will still poach the animal just to get the little that remains, regardless you still end up with a dead rhino, we need more Anti Poaching Units out there - I have seen rhino that have been poached for less thank 1/2 kg of rhino horn that remains and its so sad to see this.

  • Walter - 2012-01-13 07:49

    The people who work at those game reserves are the same people who are destroying these animals. They must pay a heavy price for these poachings.

  • PaasHaas - 2012-01-13 08:02

    Think you'll find that a few of those bigwigs were quaffing champagne in Bloemfontein last weekend.

  • Ed - 2012-01-13 08:09

    Ask yourselves where the hell is some governmental spokesman or comment from deat??? mail the following people and get them to start doing their jobs:;;

      Beetroot - 2012-01-13 08:33

      They are all in the staff canteen eating pap and gravy!

  • Skwertno1 - 2012-01-13 08:17

    and Ian Player wants to sell a Rhino shoot for a million $ coz the park is overpopulated with Rhino’s huh ?

  • lyn.duplessis - 2012-01-13 08:39

    Cooperation of Asian governments and South African governments and Mozambique is needed. Jail not bail for poachers and middle-men caught! A complete moratroium on Rhino hunting of any sort to be placed immediately!

  • Garreth - 2012-01-13 08:49

    Catch the poachers and rip an arm or leg out of their bodies so they can feel what it's like. I agree with ThailandJohn, If our leaders believe this kind if crap can cure, good luck. We're fighting a losing battle. Why do you think it is most of the time the private sector making a noise, Gov don't want to upset the chinese.

      carel.mouton - 2012-01-13 09:28

      Make it known that Chinese foreskins is a cure for cancer or Aids. Then we will turn the tables on the Chinese.

  • Alva - 2012-01-13 09:35

    The current government is too concerned about who took out Gaddafi than they are about the systematic decimation of our rhino population by our trading partners, Mozambique and Asia. Amazingly, the CEO of SANparks is not accountable for the carnage, has made no public statement and neither has anybody else in government. Ezemvelo, who have a successful rhino breeding program, have thoughtlessly advertised the shooting of a surplus bull, thus creating the impression that rhino are in abundance. Something has to be done! Ultimately this government is responsible for this mess!

  • Muneer23 - 2012-01-13 09:59

    With the amount of Game rangers we have, how does all of this go unnoticed ??? Alarmingly, 11 rhino carcasses have already been discovered in the park in 2012. The number of killing as alarmingly increased.

  • wendy.warwick3 - 2012-01-13 15:30

    I as myself when I approached WWF on facebook two years ago why did they remove my comments and that posted by members of Save Our Rhino and then had the cheek to inbox me and tell me I was stressing about nothing as it was not considered a problem, maybe if you had listened then we would not have this problem now, its so easy to climb now on the bandwagon, where were WWF and many other organisations two years ago, sorry these people leave a bad taste in my mouth. What have they actually done for the rhino in SA, I know of them moving 11 rhino, on this I stand for correction and would like to know more about their efforts not only here but in Zimbabwe aswell.

  • Trevor - 2012-01-15 13:17

    They destroying the livelyhood of South Africans let alone our animal population so, to me this would be classified as high up as Treason and if found guilty, the parties should be locked up for life and ALL their assets seized,locally and globally.

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