Mozambique based Organised Crime Syndicates, involved in rhino poaching in Kruger National Park are now smuggling rhino horn via parcel post. After cutting rhino horns into discs and mixing with pieces of wood, the horns are being smuggled out from Pemba via Oliver Tambo International Airport and onward to Hong Kong. Alert Hong Kong customs officials intercepted the shipment.
The annual Rhino Charge has over the past 27 years established itself as a prime fund raising event, supporting initially just conservation but of late also supporting the different host communities, where the annual event is being held....
How governments combat poaching as the nature of the crime changes.
A South African rhinoceros, once dead, can travel thousands of miles. Under some circumstances, its horn can trek to places as far away as Vietnam and China. Once there, it transforms into a product for spiritual medicine or a sign of wealth and class. Meanwhile, the rest of its body stays rotting in the grass, and its species inches closer to extinction.
In 2014, poachers killed a record number of the beasts for their horns, according to official numbers published by the South African government’s Department of Environmental Affairs. The number of rhinoceroses that were killed is triple that of four years ago, and the value of their horns by weight is now greater than that of gold. The complex spiritual roots of this illegal market make it difficult to pinpoint the source or perpetuating causes of it; thus, effective solutions increasingly require strong regulations and governmental commitment....
Vietnamese deputy prime minister Hoàng Trung Hải on Tuesday pledged to continue stepping up efforts to crack down on the illicit trade in rhino horn as he met with South African deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa in Cape Town.
By working on a proposal to CITES to legalise trade in rhino horn, South Africa could actually be fueling rhino poaching....
Last month, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) announced a committee to investigate legal trade in rhino horn. If approved, a trade proposal will be presented at the next CITES congress in 2016.
International trade in rhino horn has been banned by CITES since 1977.
The decision to investigate such a proposal was made two years ago by the South African government, and a “secret” committee has been meeting since April 2014. The original 10 members were never revealed, but journalists uncovered the identity of five, all of whom turned out to be pro-trade.
Now the publically announced committee includes the original pro-trade members, plus other even more dubious appointments, such as committee chair Nana Mangomola, who was suspended from the National Gambling Board after irregular audit findings....
International Non-Profit Organisation, WildAid, has warned South African authorities against legalising the trade in rhino horn. The NGO says there has been a sharp increase in the trade of rhino horn. Over 1200 rhino were killed in South Africa in 2014. The CEO and founder of WildAid, Peter Knights says there has been a boom in the sale of the horn in Vietnam, partly due to the myth that it can cure cancer among other alleged medicinal properties. "Rhino horn consumption in Vietnam really only started maybe ten years ago. Before that it wasn't a problem but the growth of the economy, there have been rumours that rhino horn can cure cancer which caused an explosion in demand in Vietnam and we are now trying to address that." Knights say their experience shows banning the trade is the best policy. He adds that endorsing the practice will worsen the situation worldwide.
.....At an event Friday sprinkled with celebrities and government representatives in the capital, activists discussed how to reverse the trend. Hong Hoang, director of local NGO Change, said she was hopeful the use of famous singers and actors could get the message to "stop the buying, stop the killing" across to consumers.
Hoang said it was important to change Vietnam's reputation as a destination for rhino horn.
The target markets are businessmen who earn more than $50,000 a year, government officials and those who drink rhino horn as a hangover cure.
Demand outstrips supply, with 75 percent to 90 percent of rhino horn on the market believed to be fake, Hoang said....
As Africa's rhino population continues to grow more vulnerable due to poaching and increasing demand for their horns in Asian countries, one organization is taking a different approach to curb the hunting by poisoning the animals' horns.
Lorinda Hern, co-founder of the Rhino Rescue Project, explained to HuffPost Live'sJosh Zepps on Monday that the "dramatic increase" in rhino poaching over the years is due in part to a rumor that began circulating several years ago in countries like China and Vietnam that the horns had healing powers and were linked to curing many "high-profile individuals" of anything from hangovers to cancer....
Famous Vietnamese comedian Chi Trung appears in the latest public service announcement (PSA) released by Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) illustrating the folly of purchasing rhino horn to demonstrate wealth or status.
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