Rhino Poaching Latest News
The Environmental Crime Hot Line Phone number: 0800 205 005
GUWAHATI/JORHAT: An adult rhino was gunned down by poachers and its horn chopped off at Kaziranga National Park on Saturday. A gang of poachers killed the pachyderm near the Sohola camp in Agoratoli range, on the eastern part of the park. Park officials said armed forest guards reached the spot immediately on hearing the gunshot around 1.30 pm. There was an exchange of firing between poachers and forest guards but the miscreants escaped and hid in the thicket, leaving behind a .303 rifle used in killing the rhino. Kaziranga officials believe the poachers are still inside the park. “Combing operations are still on as the poachers are still holed up inside the park. The poachers could not escape from the park as the forest guards rushed to the spot immediately after the gunshot,” park director, NK Vasu said. All anti-poaching camps have been alerted and asked to keep a close watch, officials added. The Saturday killing has taken the rhino poaching toll to 12 in the ten months so far this year. Apart from this, the park has already lost 28 rhinos in the flood since June this year. Kaziranga experienced one of the worst floods in eight years damaging anti-poaching infrastructure. The flood has also made a large part of the park inaccessible for patrolling. With the rise in rhino poaching and damage done to wildlife population in Kaziranga, Union environment and forest minister Jayanthi Natarajan, chief minister Tarun Gogoi and forest minister Rockybul Hussain had visited the park to take stock of the situation recently. Although Natarajan was concerned over the rise in poaching activities she said Kaziranga was not in any crisis situation yet. Park authorities submitted before the Union minister the requirement of additional 200 trained frontline staff and setting up of anti-poaching camps in the park’s neighbouring districts. Kaziranga’s total manpower strength is 562. This year 15 poachers were arrested in connection with rhino poaching. The state government has moved CBI to probe into the rhino poaching, while Centre’s Wildlife Crime Control Bureau has already started investigation.
Cape Town – First there was the Red Nose appeal, then the blue (and red) plastic testicles hanging off the back of bakkies in shopping malls.
Now there’s rhinose, a proboscis that looks as though it might complete those red testicles, depending on how it is hung, but is actually the latest weapon in the war against rhino poaching.
It’s a plastic red rhino horn that you can buy for R30 from participating CNA stores from Monday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first ever successful translocation of rhinos in SA, and to highlight the threat they are under today and raise money to fight poachers.
Rhinose Day has been organised by the Rhino Action Group Effort (RAGE – a LeadSA initiative), the Endangered Wildlife Trust and the Rhinose Foundation.
Rhinose founder Andrew Paterson said: “Although we focus on rhino conservation, the plight of these giants is a symbol of the broader range of threats facing all wildlife and wilderness areas. The Rhinose allows everyone to contribute and costs just R30.”
RAGE spokesman Andy Rice said: “All funds will be audited by KPMG, ensuring a clear, transparent route from donation to project funding.”
In 1961, legendary conservationist Ian Player and his Natal Parks Board team darted and relocated four white rhinos in the iMfolozi Game Reserve and moved them to the Kruger National Park as part of Operation Rhino, the start of an epic campaign.
For more information, go to www.rhinoseday.com. Cape Argus
Johannesburg – In an effort to contribute to the fight against rhino poaching, the South African National Park encourages all South Africans to mobilise themselves and join in the activities planned countrywide. This year’s theme for World Rhino Day is “Five Rhino Species Forever”, which celebrates both the African and Asian rhino species.
Poaching has increase from 13 per year in 2007 to a staggering 437 in total as of 3 September 2012.
The World Rhino Day tradition started in 2010 as an opportunity for people all over the world to take a stand against rhino poaching and the illegal trade in rhino horn.
According to Acting Head of Communications at SANParks, Paul Daphne, “World Rhino Day is an opportunity to highlight the efforts being made to fight the scourge of rhino poaching around the world and to debunk the myths and reduce the demand for rhino horn.”
Daphne said the current rhino poaching statistics for the Kruger National Park (KNP) stood at 241 for this year.
“It is indeed worrying that we are still losing such a high number of rhinos but the increasing number of successful arrests and steeper sentences such as the combined 58 years imprisonment imposed on two suspected rhino poachers recently is encouraging.
”The KNP has arrested 49 suspected poachers this year. This is not only thanks to the increased cooperation from ordinary members of the public but also from corporate South Africa joining the fight against rhino poaching.
“We hope this will result in successful investigations, effect more arrests and ultimately realise more successful convictions of the perpetrators,” Daphne said.
World Rhino Day 2012 will be a special day of celebration for all five species of rhino around the world, hence this year’s theme: ‘Five Rhino species forever’.
Here are a few ways to get involved or show your support…
Find Rhino Neal – RAGE
RAGE was designed to be a safe conduit for public contributions to those who fight the organised poaching networks – this cause, whether it be financial, material or in the form of skills and information. Visit their website to make contributions that will go directly to those at the forefront of the fight. [email protected] or 082-441-6070. The Crime Line toll-free hotline: 0800 205 005 (National Wildlife Crime Reaction Unit)
Save the Rhino Trust
Make a donation to the Save the Rhino Trust (SRT) in support of the work they have been doing by monitoring and patrolling Namibia’s rhinos for three decades.
Blow the whistle
Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative – Wilderness Foundation believes that without the intervention of government and the public, the rhino may be extinct in the next ten years. In March 2012 it took over 18 000 signatures as part of its Wilderness Foundation’s lobbying campaign to government. Together with Shamwari Game Reserve they’re launching a Rhino awareness Calendar and in May 2012, the Foundation printed and distributed thousands of flyers and posters encouraging whistle blowers to come forward with information related to rhino poaching through a tip-off line (0786969494). “Someone knows someone who knows something!”
Name or Adopt a Rhino
Lewa’s Rhino Conservation Programme has a population of 74 black rhinos and 56 white rhinos. You can support the important research, conservation and protection of Lewa’s flagship species by “naming” or “adopting” a rhino and receiving regular updates on the animal’s progress.
Join the Rhino Letter Writing Campaign
Earlier this year seven-year-old Afeefah Patel of Evans Park made headlines when she wrote a letter to President Zuma asking him to protect Rhino from poachers. Read his reply here. Write your own letter and join the One More Generation in raising awareness about the illegal poaching of rhino horn.
World Rhino Day – buy products that support rhino conservation
Buying items that support rhino conservation is another way of getting involved. R10 from the sale of each of these Woolworths bags go to the Wildlife ACT Fund in support of WWF-SA’s Black Rhino Range Expansion Project or sport a Rhino Ambassador badge to show your support. Visit their facebook page for more info. Otherwise purchase the Save our Rhinos CD Compilation of South African music – each sale makes a contribution to The E.W.T. Save The Rhino Fund.
Increase your knowledge with Rhino expert talks
The One & Only Cape Town will be hosting a slideshow presentation and talk with renowned rhino expert Galeo Saintz. Held on Saturday September 22 to coincide with World Rhino Day, Galeo will present On Foot through Rhino Heartland and Rhino Reality, a showcase of an adventure where four young conservationists walked through the full extent of the heartland of black and white rhino in Zululand. The slideshow and talk will take a journey Tickets to this fascinating talk will cost R230 per person and will include lunch at Reuben’s offering the Save the Rhino set menu with wine pairings from Linton Park.
WWF and Konica Minolta fight against poaching
Bidvest company, Konica Minolta South Africa is pleased to announce that it has renewed its support of the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) African Rhino Programme for the next year.
Says Alan Griffith, MD of Konica Minolta South Africa: “According to WWF, our substantial financial donation to the programme over the past year has helped in the South African Rhino DNA index system, called RhODIS, contributing evidence to more than 400 investigative rhino poaching cases in South Africa.
“It is heartening to see that this type of indisputable evidence is a strong factor in some serious sentences being handed down – including the two rhino poachers recently sentenced to a collective 58 years in prison – something that we hope will act as a deterrent to other would-be poachers.”
Furthermore, the WWF-Konica Minolta South Africa partnership has been instrumental in support for the introduction of RhODIS into Kenya, where a large percentage of the critically endangered East African black rhino population resides. More than 300 DNA forensic kits have been donated to support both ongoing investigations and the collection of live rhino samples for DNA profiling within the region.
L-R – Dr Cindy Harper, head of the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of Pretoria, Alan Griffith, MD of Konica Minolta South Africa, Dr Joseph Okori, head of WWF’s African Rhino Programme. Dr Joseph Okori, the head of WWF’s African Rhino Programme, states that, while poaching prevention and investigation remain key, addressing the demand for rhino horn is also critical. “In line with this, we have begun to upscale our efforts in addressing this side of the equation, in particular creating a greater awareness of illegal trade concerns across Asia.
“This meant that Konica Minolta South Africa’s contribution was also used for specialised rhino and horn scanners for micro-chipped marked rhinos and their horns. These kits have gone directly to special operation units within government, but some are to be handed over to Vietnam during the South Africa-Vietnam signing of a bilateral memorandum of understanding that would see strengthening of border and ports monitoring coupled with improved information sharing.
“We are certainly in a growth phase of our partnership with Konica Minolta South Africa and believe that this type of strong corporate engagement can only lead to greater things for conservation. We look forward to a long and healthy relationship with the company and, together, plan to continue to support the continued delivery on rhino horn DNA profiling, as well as provide for the production and distribution of 600 forensic kits for five Africa rhino range states, to improve both rhino management and traceability, among additional objectives.”
Says Griffith: “Konica Minolta South Africa is passionate about the preservation of the majestic rhino and, based on the successes seen over 2011 and 2012, has pledged to continue to support WWF’s programme into 2013. We look forward to seeing many more conservation victories as well as the protection and growth of the African rhino population.”