The latest report by international wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic has claimed the record-high rhino poaching in South Africa is being fed by a surging demand from Vietnam, identifying the country as the main market for rhino horn.
However, Vietnamese authorities and conservation experts have denied the allegation, saying the study, which has attracted much coverage by foreign press, is not objective and evidence-based. They say that rhino horn is not used in Vietnam but rather it arrives in transit to a third country....
The increasingly sophisticated weapons and tactics that rhino poachers use suggest that they are getting help from corrupt wildlife officials, a report said.
The South Africa-Vietnam Rhino Horn Trade Nexus report, released in Johannesburg yesterday, said these "developments" had identified a "new face" in poaching.
"Rhinos are usually killed with AK-47 assault rifles but a growing number are killed with weapons characteristically used by wildlife industry professionals," read the report.
The report was compiled by the UK-based wildlife trade monitoring NGO, Traffic....
Vietnamese hunters account for 48% (185) of the 384 registered hunters paying $22-million to hunt rhino between 2009 and May.
The abuse has become so bad that South Africa's hunting associations have warned their members to avoid Vietnamese clients, and the Environmental Affairs Department has suspended issuing hunting permits to Vietnamese.
Traffic spokesman Richard Thomas said that, because Vietnam is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, it has an obligation to eliminate the trade in rhino horn....
“Our rhinos are part of our valuable ecotourism and safari industries. Their very existence creates employment and generates important tourism revenue,” says Mike Rumble of the African Conservation Trust.
In 2011, South African President Jacob Zuma announced six priority areas to boost job creation in South Africa, tourism being one of them. According to Zuma, for every 16 tourists that visit the country, one South African job is created....
“Ecotourism has a far greater potential for contributing to income and livelihoods in poor rural communities than what is realised,” says Edgar Kaeslin, from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Tourists from all over the world visit South Africa to observe the country’s rich natural environment and rare species. Black rhinos - considered one of the rarest rhinos in Africa - are a main attraction in South Africa and are responsible for driving much tourism in the region....
But these ecotourism spin-off benefits are in jeopardy. The recent drop in numbers of black rhinos due to poaching has caused a spike in the value of their horns which, in turn, is stimulating the black market....
The first Rocking for Rhinos festival will be held on the rolling hills of the recreational park, located in Hoedspruit, Limpopo, over the weekend of World Rhino Day, September 22 to 23, with all profits raised going towards anti-poaching efforts.
60 minutes of diving brings in 60 kilos of debris at Marsalforn On Saturday, the Bubbles Dive Centre team and local scuba divers completed a 2nd ‘Dive Against Debris’ underwater survey in Marsalforn Bay.
JOHANNESBURG AFP - Many South African trophy hunting firms fail to meet industry regulations in a country hard-hit by poaching, the environment ministry said on Wednesday after a series of raids.Investigators found that tannery and taxidermy industries...
Via Wildlife Margrit
When poachers slaughtered 300 elephants this year in Cameroon, all they wanted was the ivory tusks. Now, all a University of Washington professor wants is to help bring the poachers to justice.
Wasser is an expert on endangered animal scat. He has made several discoveries using specially trained dogs to sniff out dung of animals that Wasser then analyzes. He can find out what the animal eats, if it is healthy, even if its hormonally stressed.
Wasser and his crew have collected dung samples from the elephants herds of Africa.
Give him a dung sample and he can tell you which herd it came from, where they are and how they are doing. Give him a sample of seized, illegal ivory and he can match the DNA to a dung sample and bingo, he knows where the ivory tusk came from.
If he gets the samples early enough, Wasser says he can alert rangers that poachers are operating in their area....
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Scamsters who pretend to be raising money to help fight rhino poaching are putting conservation efforts at risk.
This is the warning from environmentalists who are worried about the mushrooming of organisations claiming to be on the side of the endangered species. The public is being confused by all the projects meant to help rhinos and there is a risk of donor fatigue.
Keyrings, T-shirts, hand chains, CDs, plush toys, and even rhinos as wedding gifts can be bought to save SA’s endangered rhino population. According to experts there are now at least 260 new NGOs.
Last week retired Proteas cricketer Mark Boucher became the latest celebrity to throw his weight behind the anti-rhino poaching campaign.
Boucher, together with SAB, launched the SAB-Boucher Non-Profit Company with the aim of raising R1 million to register SA’s 18 000 rhinos on a DNA database.
At the last count, according to Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the number of rhino poached since the beginning of the year is 219, with 32 in KZN.
While money is needed for anti-rhino poaching initiatives such as increased border control measures and sniffer dogs at international airports, some of the country’s leading NGOs are concerned.
Jabulani Ngubane, anti-rhino poaching co-ordinator at Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, said having so many projects could be confusing to the average citizen. And with increasingly simpler ways to make a contribution, such as buying a hand chain, and constantly being bombarded with the “save the rhino” message, the public are at risk of being “rhino-ed out”.
Kirsty Brebner, rhino project manager at the Endangered Wildlife Trust, said at their last count there were 260 new NGOs raising money for rhinos.
“This is of great concern as it contributes to donor fatigue,” said Brebner.
She said there were fake organisations raising money, and this tarnished the image of legitimate NGOs. She urged people to ensure that they donated to, and purchased items from, legitimate NGOs, by asking questions about their work and financial statements. - Saturday Star
Tanzania which leads in Africa and in some cases in the world in offering a rich variety and abundance of wild life, faces the risk of losing it all, if it does not seriously face up to and remove the threats to the survival of the species....
For a long time now, we have been reading about the efforts being made to protect the rhino, now under the threat of extinction, though it once boasted of a population of over 70,000 on the continent.
Indeed statistics given by the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Khamis Kagasheki show how difficult it has been for authorities to put a stop to the massacre of the animal, hunted mainly for its horn, highly sought after in the oriental world for traditional medicine.
Kagasheki explained that during the 1960s, it was estimated that there were about 70,000 black rhinos in Africa, of which 10,000 were in Tanzania, the largest concentrations in the continent....
It is true that Tanzania is not alone in the near-impossible battle to save the rhino hunted down by criminal gangs backed by oriental groups with big money....
Given their low birth rate and the threat of its most deadly predator – the poacher - their continued existence at best lies in the artificial, but hopefully a more secure environment of the zoo, as recommended by Prof Kayumbo.
Global wildlife monitoring network TRAFFIC warned Tuesday that 515 rhinos could perish by the end of the year if no action is taken to stem the illicit trade in rhino horns....
South Africa, home to about three quarters of Africa's 20,000 or so white rhinos and 4,800 critically endangered black rhinos, has in recent years witnessed an unprecedented spike in sophisticated, violent and organised rhino-related criminal activities.
Last year 448 rhinos were killed compared to 13 animals in 2007.
South Africa has lately scaled up its fight against illegal poaching and trade in rhinos horns, arresting 176 suspects so far this year, more than the 165 arrested in the 12 months of 2010....
But she warned that even with the successful stories of high-value arrests the criminal syndicates appeared generally to be a step ahead -- better equipped, well funded.
"As anti-poaching security levels are stepped up, the poaching gangs become more aggressive and increasingly sophisticated," she said.
The report named Vietnam as the worst offender fuelling the trade in the black market for rhino horns.
"The bottom line is that we are not close to ending this crisis yet, we are probably going to get record numbers this year," warned the report's co-author Tom Milliken, who is also an expert on rhinos at TRAFFIC.
The grounded horn, which is believed by some to cure cancers, has taken on a new use and is now being pushed as a recreational drug mixed with drinks at elite "rhino wine associations" parties in the belief that it cures hangover.
The report says the only way to end illegal rhino hunting is to cut off the demand, by pushing Vietnam to boldly show commitment and decisively enforce laws that prohibit trade in the horns....
Ulaanbaatar is importing foreign experts to combat falling water levels in Mongolia's third longest river. Qualifications include sharp incisors, flat tails and webbed toes.
Meet the Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber). If all goes according to plan, the task of restoring the headwaters of the Tuul River will be left to these rotund rodents, with extra thanks to Germany and Russia. At home, due to poaching, their numbers have declined sharply in the past 20 years. But in May, Germany gifted 14, and Russia another 30—just for this special task.
With their sharp, ever-growing teeth, beavers fell trees and build dams to flood areas for protection from predators. Many scientists believe beavers can contribute to river ecosystem regeneration and restoration because their natural dams help maintain river levels during dry spells, while the flooded areas help nourish the soil and promote plant growth....
ABC NewsUSDA suspends slaughterhouse after videoUSA TODAYThe investigation will determine whether sick cows were slaughtered and whether meat products from the company should be recalled, a spokesman for the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service said.
Via World Animal Protection Canada
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