Tag Archives: Kruger rhino poaching

South Africa – rhinos to be moved from Kruger


S Africa rhinos to be evacuated from Kruger National Park

Rhinos resting in Kruger National Park south africa in August 12 2014In recent years Kruger National Park has had to recruit more guards to protect rhinos against illegal poaching

Hundreds of rhinos are to be evacuated from South Africa’s Kruger National Park to save them from poachers.

The move, which is part of a plan to curb illegal hunts for rhino horn, was announced by the environment minister.

Park authorities said they could relocate up to 500 rhinos, which can each weigh more than a tonne.

South Africa is home to more than 80% of Africa’s rhinos. Illegal poaching has risen sharply from 13 in 2007 to 1,004 in 2013.

Environment Minister Edna Molewa said the relocations from the Kruger National Park, coupled with the creation of “rhino strongholds”, could “allow the total rhino population size of South Africa to continue to grow.”

“South Africa, with its large rhino populations, has borne the brunt of rhino poaching. We remain confident that our efforts in implementing the integrated strategic approach will build on our successful track record of conserving rhino,” she said.

The rhinos may be moved to other areas of lower poaching rates such as state-owned or private nature parks, areas within the Kruger Park closer to the Mozambique border, or even to neighbouring countries, according to the minister.

The new initiative will be supported by the South African government’s Security Cluster to work on tougher penalties for those caught hunting rhinos illegally.

The famed Kruger National Park, which is of a similar size to Wales or Israel, is thought to be home to as few as 8,400 white rhinos.

Park authorities said Kruger was the biggest target for poaching in the region, with more rhinos killed there each year than anywhere else in South Africa.

Although international trade in rhino horn has been illegal since 1977, demand remains high in some Asian countries, where it is used both in traditional medicine and as a symbol of wealth. BBC

S Africa – ANC MP supports lifting ban on rhino horn trade through Cites

City Press

Lifting horn trade ban will save rhino, MPs told

Legalising international trade in rhino horn will stem the slaughter of the species, MPs have heard.

The 35-year Cites (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species) ban on rhino horn has not stopped the poachers, said ANC MP Johnny de Lange, who is also chairman of Parliament’s environmental affairs portfolio committee.

Speaking during a debate in the National Assembly on the department’s R5.4 billion budget, he said government would seek approval for lifting the ban at the 17th Cites conference, set to be held in South Africa in 2016.

“The data suggests that banning of legal, open trade in rhino horn has not resulted in reduced demand for the horn, and has not helped save the rhino from imminent extinction. Escalation in the slaughter of rhino is proof of this.

“Consumers simply do not believe that rhino horn has no medicinal value, no matter how many times we say so. Using increasingly sophisticated means, poaching syndicates have capitalised on the Cites ban to supply what appears to be a resurgent market demand,” De Lange said.

More than 360 rhino have been killed by poachers in South Africa since the beginning of this year. Between 2007 and February last year the country lost 1460 rhino to poachers.

South Africa is home to 83% of Africa’s rhino, with 18 910 white and 2044 black rhino.

The powdered horn, which finds an eager market in many Asian countries, is reportedly worth more, by weight, than gold, selling for as much as R630 000 a kilogram.

De Lange said it was crucial that the possibility of legalising the trade in rhino horn be investigated.

“It seems abundantly obvious to me… that the rhino horn trade has been banned for 35 years, yet rhinos are still highly threatened and on the brink of extinction. Surely it is time to devise new approaches.

“Legalising rhino horn trade for South Africa is likely to shift the market out of the hands of organised crime into legal channels, which must be good for rhino and other wildlife currently moving through these illicit channels.

“A large and steady supply of horns is also likely to lower and stabilise prices, which also plays against the black market,” he said.

Cabinet agreed last year that dialogue should be opened on the “desirability and viability” of lifting the Cites ban on trading in rhino horn.

The ban had created “a lucrative and well-functioning, illegal underground black market, which is a haven for organised crime, diverting vast sums of possible conservation funds into the hands of criminals”.

De Lange said that in its call to legalise the trade, government would only argue for a “limited and well-defined trade in rhino horn”, within a strongly-regulated market mechanism. The only horns to be traded would come from rhino that died of natural causes, or from present stockpiles, or from possible de-horning.

“No animals should be killed in the process,” he said.

South Africa is reportedly sitting on a 20-ton stockpile of rhino horn, worth well over R10 billion.  city press

S Africa – rhino poaching continuing at v high rate

City Press

A total of 158 rhino have been poached since the beginning of the year, the department of environmental affairs has said.

In the Kruger National Park (KNP), 116 rhino had been poached, the department said in a statement.

Thirteen were poached in North West, 12 in KwaZulu-Natal, nine in Mpumalanga and eight in Limpopo.

Sixty-one people had been arrested: 38 of them alleged poachers and three alleged couriers, the department said.

In the past week, two poachers were arrested in the KNP.

Nine people had also been arrested at a game farm near Lephalale, in Limpopo, in connection with a rhino-poaching incident on March 10.

More than 630 rhinos were killed by poachers in 2012.

– Sapa  City Press

Six more rhinos killed in NW province as S Africa’s rhino poaching continues

Mail and Guardian

As the number of rhino’s poached for their horns in 2012 nears 500 in South Africa, another six have been killed in the North West province.

According to stoprhinopoaching.com 488 rhinos have been poached in 2012 alone, with a total of 1400 rhinos killed since 2008 in South Africa.

Six rhinos have been killed and three wounded at a farm in Amalia near Schweizer-Reneke, North West, the Hawks said on Saturday.

Captain Paul Ramaloko said the rhinos had their horns removed.

“The carcasses were in the early stage of decomposing. It seems they were killed earlier this week.”

The carcasses were found 2km from one another at the Hastrzhoogte farm.

He said no arrests have been made and the Hawks were investigating a case of rhino poaching.  M&G

S Africa – rise in rhino poaching

Reuters Africa

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – A record number of African rhinos were illegally killed in South Africa this year, driven by the use of their horns in Chinese medicine and a spreading belief in Southeast Asia, unfounded in science, that they may cure cancer.

A White Rhino and her calf walk in the dusk light in Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa's North West Province April 19, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

The street value of rhinoceros horns has soared to about $65,000 a kilogramme, making it more expensive than gold.

South Africa, home to more than 20,000 rhinos, or about 90 percent of all the rhinos in Africa, lost 455 rhinos to poachers, as of Tuesday, to eclipse the 448 killed in all of 2011, the environment ministry said in a statement.

Around 15 animals a year were lost a decade ago, showing the impact of rising demand from Asia.

The number of rhinoceroses dying unnatural deaths in South Africa, either through illegal poaching or legal hunts, has now reached a level likely to lead to population decline, according to a study by Richard Emslie, an expert in the field.

Poaching increased dramatically from about 2007 as a growing affluent class in China, Vietnam and Thailand began spending more on rhino horn for traditional medicine, where it was once used for ailments such as devil possession.

About half of poaching takes place in Kruger National Park, the country’s flagship park covering an area about the size of Israel, where soldiers and surveillance aircraft have been deployed in recent months to slow the carnage.

The park has been the focal point of an arms race as gangs of poachers sponsored by international crime syndicates have used high-powered weaponry, night vision goggles and helicopters to hunt the animals, investigators said. Reuters


S Africa – police warn 550 rhinos could be poached this year

Mail and Guardian

Crime-busting unit, the Hawks, has warned that 556 rhinos could be killed by the end of the year if current poaching trends persist.

“The number is based on formulae that we work on with the daily rate of rhino that are killed and then we forecast to see what figure we will stand on by the end of the year,” Colonel Johann Jooste said in Midrand.

“It might be that we have some significant arrests and it would affect the forecast number … But the figure is just based on the daily rate.”

Jooste was briefing reporters at the first National Rhino Conservation Dialogue.

On Monday, the environmental affairs department announced that a total of 227 rhinos had been killed illegally since the beginning of the year.

A total of 148 arrests had been made in the same period.

Of the rhino killed, 137 were from the Kruger National Park and in Limpopo 31 rhino were killed.

The dialogue was the first of many to come, said deputy director-general of biodiversity and conservation at the environmental affairs department, Fundisile Mketeni.

“If you listen to the debate around rhino you have issues around security, you have issues around trade, you have issues around numbers …Read more…

S Africa loses 227 rhinos to poachers this year

Mail and Guardian

The environmental affairs department says South Africa has lost 227 rhinos to illegal hunting activities since the beginning of the year.

Environmental spokesperson Albi Modise said 148 people had been arrested in connection with illegal rhino horns.

The latest statistics indicate the Kruger National Park lost 137 rhinos, which accounts for more than half the total rhino killings that have taken place this year.

Limpopo has suffered 31 rhino killings and the North West and KwaZulu-Natal provinces each have lost 23 rhinos.

The province nearest to these figures was Mpumalanga with six rhinos illegally hunted.

Modise said of the 148 people arrested, 131 were poachers, 10 were receivers or couriers of illegal rhino horn, six more were couriers or buyers and one person was an exporter.

The department urged all South Africans to report incidents of rhino poaching.

Any tip-offs that could lead to arrests and the prevention of illegal rhino killings could be left at 0800 205 005. – Sapa