1004 rhinos poached last year

It would appear to be a losing war, no matter what publicity is created or how many fundraisers are held the poachers are slowly but surely sending this animal into extinction.

BBC report here

Horrible graphic picture here

37 have already been slaughtered so far this year

We often get reports of poachers shot and / or arrested, (343 last year!) Lots of them from Mozambique (which borders Kruger) but the rewards obviously outweigh the risks.

Perhaps it’s time that we have a word with O’Bama and suggest that the Yanks can use Kruger to polish their drone targeting techniques, a fleet of Predators in the skies over Kruger with instructions to lob a Hellfire at anything on two legs might help.



9 thoughts on “1004 rhinos poached last year”

  1. Good morning Soutie. I know we disagree on this, but I believe more than ever, that the only way to preserve the rhino is to legalise the trade in rhino horn. As things are now, a rhino in a national park or on a game farm is an expensive and dangerous liability. There is little incentive to own and breed them. The trade in rhino horn is rather like the drug wars which America and the rest of the world are losing. Though it n now seems that the US is taking tentative steps to legalise some drugs, specifically marijuana.

    If you control the trade, you know who the users are and what the channels are. Further, instead of costing a fortune pursuing poachers, money can be generated to extend the breeding program.

    The problem is that there are too many do-gooders in the world who make names and fortunes for themselves engaging in quixotic crusades. The last thing they want is for the rhino poaching to stop. How else would they get the likes of Brangelina to pour huge amounts of cash into their fruitless campaigns.

  2. G-dag, Soutie. I presume that if trade in rhino horn were legal, the species would rapidly die out? I can’t imagine legal ‘growers’ could replace them fast enough. Or am I off the mark?

  3. Janus, rhinos have been close to extinction before in Africa. Dr Ian Player, http://www.ianplayer.com an international conservationist from Natal, was instrumental in rescuing the white rhino from near extinction in the 1950’s and 60s, to the point where they were for a while considered to be out of danger. Rhinos do breed well in captivity, I am not necessarily talking about zoos, but on game farms and in protected reserves.

    There are many private as well as public game reserves in southern Africa. Rhinos are a tourist attraction and their presence adds to the status of wild life sanctuaries and reserves. But because of the threat of poaching, a rhino presents a huge risk to the owners. Armed poachers are by definition ruthless, callous and dangerous. They are not people you want to confront unless you are prepared to engage them in a fire fight. They take huge risks because although their lives are at risk the financial rewards from the sale of a few kgs of rhino horn are immense. It might be OK for a National Parks official or a member of the police or army to shoot and kill a poacher, but I certainly would not want to face the legal consequences were I to kill an armed poacher on my game farm, not that I have one! The very fact that a game reserve has a rhino, puts not just the owners and wardens at risk from armed poachers, but puts tourists and visitors at risk as well. The income generated would never be offset by the cost of buying, owning and protecting one or more of the animals.

    On the other hand, if the owner were able to harvest the horn and trade on the international market, not only would he recoup some of his losses, he may even make a profit, encouraging him to breed more. Eventually prices would fall as the market became more liquid and as rhino numbers increased. Traders would not hoard the horn, as they are doing now (and as the Japanese and Chinese are doing with Blue Fin Tuna) with a view to rising prices as the animals become extinct.

    African governments are afraid to call on CITES to legalise the international trade because they do not want lucrative donor deals to dry up. This is a political and public relations issue. Brad Pitt and his ilk, have to have a good cause to support in order to appeal to their fan base. Saving the rhino is a ‘good’ cause. Advocating the harvesting of rhino horn for sale to superstitious Asians is not. it is as simple as that.

    Think of the public outcry that takes place when seals are killed in Canada, whales killed in Norway and dolphins killed in Japan. Those who protest the loudest about these events care little whether or not the species are at risk. All they care about is people killing animals. I am not saying there is a direct parallel between these cases and rhinos, but one must not lose sight of the real results as opposed to public perception. The great thing about rhino horns, is that the rhino does not need to be killed.

    Look up ‘Michale Eustace rhino conservation’ for a number of well argued articles on the subject.

    Here is one. http://www.bdlive.co.za/articles/2012/01/20/rhino-poaching-what-is-the-solution;jsessionid=D374882BC0D1B73B8AA610349FF3DC19.present2.bdfm

    Incidentally, Ian Player is the brother of golfer Gary Player.

  4. The solution is to embargo all export goods from China until they make rhino horn possession punishable by death.
    Hit the chinks where it hurts in their exports. They would soon do without rhino horn.

  5. Having just watch a documentary about endangered species in Africa, I wish I could get hold of a long, sharp rhino horn and bring it into close contact with these superstitious Chinese. I would subscribe to a fund for the shooting of poachers too.

    If rhino horn were to be sold legally, would it be possible to inject unpleasant substances into it before the sale? I feel strongly about the prospect of wild animal species dying out, as you may gather.

  6. From this mornings Cape Times …

    ” THE rhino war is off to a bloody start this year with seven poachers killed in a series of weekend gunfights with rangers in the Kruger National Park.

    Eleven alleged poachers have been killed this month alone in the flagship national park by South African National Parks rangers and members of the SANDF.

    Most of the gun battles happened at night after poaching gangs crossed over the border from Mozambique.

    At least 40 rhinos have been shot by poachers inside Kruger this month, with no let-up in the bloody rhino war that last year led to the record slaughter of 1 004 rhinos nationwide.

    Yesterday afternoon, the officer commanding the Kruger Rangers Corp, Major-General Johan Jooste, revealed that there were now “multiple incursions of up to 15 heavily armed (poaching) groups in Kruger at any given time” especially during the full moon period when poachers were able to stalk rhinos at night in the hope of evading detection by anti-poaching patrols.

    “They operate in groups of four to six. They are aggressive and engage and shoot at the rangers on sight, creating a daily, life-threatening situation.”

    He said the recent recovery of a handgun at a contact scene suggested elevated levels of aggression from the poaching groups.

    The latest deaths happened this weekend when there were four separate engagements between poachers and rangers in different parts of the 2 million hectare park.

    Rangers also confiscated four hunting rifles, ammunition, poaching equipment and a pair of horns at the weekend.

    Jooste said at least 123 rhino poaching suspects had been arrested last year inside Kruger.

    Nationwide, at least 343 suspects were arrested last year.

    “We would like to ask the public, law enforcement agencies and our counterparts in Mozambique to play their part, match the work that is being done by the rangers and we will reap the rewards and win this war,” he said.

  7. Sipu / Janus, I’m not averse to a legal trade in rhino horn, here’s my comment from an earlier post

    Soutie :

    The legal trade debate

    Unlike elephants, rhino are in short supply (perhaps total pop 20,000)

    Nowhere near enough to satisfying the sexual needs of “sick underhung slants” If however legally obtained horns are somehow sold on the world market with all proceeds used to protect the few remaining I think that it’s worth a try.

    I don’t however think that it will dent the demand, it might increase it (more for sale, more people want to try it.) I certainly don’t see a legal trade stopping poaching or the black market, there’s simply too much money to be made 😦

  8. Presumably the poachers come from local villages. Do they share their ill-gotten gains with the other villagers? Perhaps there should be a generous bounty for all villages that turn in their poachers. Everyone will know who they are.

  9. The only way to get at the chinks is hit their pocket books. Cease importing their rubbish.
    They couldn’t give a toss about endangered species. Put their population out of work would be a different matter.

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