Due to the high costs of security and in some cases personal security of rhinos across the country in private and open game reserves is seriously threatening eco-tourism in South Africa. We are looking at a staggering number of murdered Rhinos driving the population of this incredible big five creature into extinction at an alarming rate.
With this, communities and travel industry professionals, government and individuals alike start to pull together in working towards a solution and putting preventative measures in place, getting tourism involved and pushing projects to get the job done.
A 10-day rhino walk through the Sabi Sand and Kruger wilderness earlier this year has led to some serious energy pouring into anti poaching via eco-tourism while promoting international involvement and engagement with initiatives. Following the success of &Beyond and Africa Foundation’s Footprints of Hope rhino awareness walk, the teams are now returning to communities to help inspire and educate about the threat of rhino poaching.
Endangered Black Rhino
Beyond rangers, Africa Foundation development officers, and the Kruger Park Section Rangers will give regular updates on the highly endangered black rhino, urging people to report all poaching activity to the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency.
The Kruger Park remains the main hunting ground for poachers having lost more than 162 rhinos in the first half of 2012. Limpopo adds 34 plus rhinos to the illegal slaughters; KwaZulu-Natal lost more than 25 and the North West Province has had 24 rhinos killed. According to News 24, SANParks announced the latest statistics show over 245 rhinos have been poached in South Africa since the beginning of this year with 161 arrests.
There have been 173 arrests made during the course of the year which include 138 poachers, 10 were receivers, six couriers/buyers and seven were exporters.
On the issue of permitting for trophy hunting permits, government has amended the norms and standards for the marking of rhinoceros and rhinoceros horn and for the hunting of rhinoceros for trophy hunting in order to strengthen requirements relating to hunting.
Authorities consider whether the country of residence of the hunting client, where the rhinoceros horn and trophies will be imported to, has legislation in place ensuring that the horns and trophy will be used for the purpose only as indicated on the permit.
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has recommended all provincial conservation authorities responsible for issuing hunting permits refuse any applications for white rhinoceros hunting by foreign hunters whose usual state of residence is Vietnam; until such time that Vietnam has confirmed in writing, that all rhino trophies exported since 2010 are still in the possession of the hunters. A list of permits endorsed at OR Tambo has been provided to Vietnam.
Measures have been implemented, the number of applications for hunting has reduced and no further applications from China, Vietnam, and Thailand have been received. All hunting applications are submitted to the Department of Environmental Affairs for verification that applicants hunted only a single rhino within a calendar year. Based on the register kept by the Department, no further applications from consumer countries have been received.
Reporting Rhino Poaching
Any and all incidents of rhino poaching can be reported or any tip-offs that could lead to arrests and prevention of illegal killings can be made by calling: 0800 205 005.
The effect of rhino poaching is massive and reflects negatively on us all, worse still on the continent. Standing together against such devastation is the only way to combat it. South Africa and the world need to take the necessary steps to stop poaching in its tracks.
Author: Jacqueline Freer