We’ve reported on it before but, unfortunately, rhino poaching continues at an alarming rate. Yesterday, two Vietnamese nationals were arrested in Beaufort West for being in possession of 15 rhino horns, and this past weekend, another rhino carcass was discovered – with its horn removed – at Amakhala Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, bringing the total number of rhinos killed by poachers this year to 268. Add to that the gruesome discovery of 17 rhino carcasses – all with horns removed – in a ‘rhino dump’ bordering the Kruger National Park in Limpopo last Thursday, and there can be little doubt that we’re in the midst of a rhino poaching epidemic which threatens to wipe out our entire wild rhino population. South Africa is home to the world’s largest population of Black Rhino (approximately 4500 individuals) and Southern White Rhino (approximately 18 000 individuals). At the current rate, however, we’re losing approximately 24 individuals every month and scientists are concerned that the mortality rate now outweighs the natality rate, which means the population is in serious decline. While authorities have made some noteworthy rhino poaching arrests – including smashing a rhino poaching syndicate involving two veterinarians – more needs to be done to save the rhino. The Democratic Alliance has called on Environment Minister Edna Molewa to launch an investigation into the slaughter, and the SANDF has been deployed in some areas to help curb poaching. Civil society, too, can be more vociferous in its condemnation of the decimation of our national heritage, and throw its weight behind rhino conservation.
For further information on what you can do to stop rhino poaching, see the following rhino conservation and action groups:
- Save the Rhino Foundation
- South African Veterinary Foundation Rhino Conservation Fund
- Saving Rhinos Blog
- World Wildlife Fund South Africa
- Stop Rhino Poaching
To report rhino poaching, trade in rhino horn, or vets, pilots and hunters involved in rhino poaching, call the Endangered Wildlife Trust Rhino Hotline: 082 404 2128