EWN’s Matshidiso Madia spends sometime at Haartzhoogte lodge where 11 rhino were poached in the space of 6 weeks...
In South Africa anti-poaching groups, breeders and government are in a losing global battle against rhino poachers – the number of rhinoceros’ killed by poachers has escalated from 13 in 2007, to 528 in the first eleven months of 2012.
For many rhino farmers like Spamer and Haartzhoogte owner Braam Van Greuning’s family, this attack signals an ending - an end to the relationship they had with all 29 rhino, an end to watching the calves fill up the reserve’s watering hole and wandering into the camp sites. It also signals the end to a much needed breeding programme that helped increase the numbers of a dying species....
Until someone comes up with a viable plan of action, South Africa and the rest of the continent will remain on a slippery slope towards a world with only the big four to show off.
More than 500 rhino have been killed by poachers so far in 2012 November 2012. Just when it seemed that it couldn't get much worse, it did. At least 15 rhino have been dehorned by poachers, of which at least 10 have died and the remaining 5 are very ill. Most of the rhinos were tranquilised before having their horns cut off.
Additionally, two calves of some of the rhinos that were attacked have gone missing, it is assumed that they have wondered off into the bush without their mothers, and are unlikely to survive.
On the Hartzhoogte Hunting Reserve nine rhinos were killed and three dehorned by poachers; additionally two rhino calves have not been seen since. As a consequence the owners of Hartzhoogte have moved all their surviving rhinos from the farm.
In a separate incident on a game farm in South Africa's Eastern Cape, three rhino were tranquilised and dehorned; one of the rhinos died and the others were very poorly.
More than 500 rhinos killed already in 2012
By the latest count, South Africa has lost a total of 528 rhinos to poachers since the beginning of 2012; the Kruger National Park remains the hardest hit, having lost a total of 320 rhino.
There are overachievers, and then there is Taylor Justice. The 12-year-old skier/climber/straight-A student started shredding double-black diamond chutes when she was eight. Three years later, she joined the Junior Ski Patrol at Aspen’s Buttermilk Mountain. Earlier this year, she rescued a man who’d fallen 30 feet into a ravine on Peru’s Inca Trail, fashioned splints for his broken wrists out of cardboard boxes, and helped him to safety. And later this month, she’ll climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money and awareness for critically endangered black rhinos....
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has made a sensational breakthrough in their quest to track down and capture the rhino poaching syndicates that have taken such a serious toll on these animals of late.
Working day and night over a four- day period last week, Ezemvelo’s Rhino Intervention Co-Ordinator Jabulane Ngubane yesterday announced that four suspected poachers have been arrested after entering Ndumo Game Reserve on Wednesday evening last week.
In the process a .458 heavy calibre rifle with a silencer has been confiscated. Initial findings suggest this to be the same weapon used in many of the recent poaching incidents at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, iSimangaliso Wetland Park and Ndumo Game Reserve.
“I cannot verify this until ballistic tests are completed but many of us are convinced we have got the ‘smoking-gun’. In any case I can’t tell you how rewarding this capture is. It’s huge. We’ve learnt many things from them already, one being that this rifle is actually hired out amongst other syndicates. We’ve also established that this gun is owned by a Mozambican national living in Maputo.”
Ngubane said he could not give out too much more information but the suspected poachers had revealed the identity of other poaching syndicates as well as other “critical” information: “I would be disappointed if this breakthrough is not followed up with new arrests soon”.
Ezemvelo’s CEO Dr Bandile Mkhize was thrilled and even emotional with the breakthrough. “Beyond the headlines, people just don’t recognise how hard we are working to try and stamp out this horror. It takes time and infinite patience to follow up leads. I am over the moon with this news,” he said.
Ngubane said following strong intelligence tip-offs earlier last week, he assembled a 15-strong anti-poaching unit from a number of Ezemvelo’s reserves and combined these with a select four-man group from the SAPS’s Organised Crime Unit. They headed to Ndumo Game Reserve last Wednesday where intelligence said they would be entering the reserve on Wednesday afternoon.
All four were detected on Wednesday evening but nightfall meant they had to wait until the following morning to continue the chase. Three of the suspected poachers were seen leaving the reserve’s southern boundary. One was caught immediately while two others escaped. The first suspected poacher arrested said the fourth one had left the group overnight to attend a court case in Ingwavuma.
Working throughout the day, the rangers followed the spoor of the two escaped suspected poachers. Having caught up with them they hid and waited near a road in the Ziphosheni area outside Ndumo. The two were picked up by a vehicle and the Ezemvelo team chased them and pulled the car over.
The driver and two suspected poachers were arrested. Inside the vehicle was found the .458 heavy calibre hunting rifle with two rounds inside, along with a silencer. They soon established the identity and whereabouts of the one suspected poacher who had to attend his court hearing. He was subsequently found and arrested, too.
Ngubane added that these latest four suspected poachers brought the total number of poachers arrested during 2012 to 29.
A total of 488 rhinos have been lost to illegal killings since the beginning of this year. The total number of arrests in connection with rhino poaching now stands at 214.
The Kruger National Park has lost 296 rhinos to poaching. The provinces hardest hit by rhino poaching include Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and the North West, which collectively account for the loss of 158 rhinos.
186 of the arrested individuals are at the level of poacher, 10 are receivers and 18 are couriers.
Members of the public are urged to report incidents of rhino poaching or any tip-offs that could lead to arrests and prevention of illegal killings to 0800 205 005
Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal nature conservation services (Ezemvelo) wants to enlist the help of the defence force to put a stop to rhino poaching in the province, Beeld reported on Monday.
Spokesman Musa Mntambo said Ezemvelo was caught off-guard earlier this year by a spike in rhino poaching.
By the middle of October 2012, 55 rhino had been poached, compared to 34 in 2011 and 38 in 2010.
After the Kruger Park's loss of 272 rhinos for the year, KwaZulu-Natal has the highest poaching figures.
An internal Ezemvelo inquiry into the discovery of seven rhino carcasses at the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi reserve on September 22, recommended that specialist units be deployed to allow a wider area to be patrolled.
Mntambo said Ezemvolo's anti-poaching unit had only 60 members to guard all the reserves in the province, and that around 200 were needed to provide one member per 1000 hectares.
A field guide and a member of the anti-poaching unit were fired after the internal inquiry.- Sapa
Finally someone convicted for rhino poaching, illegal trade, wildlife trafficking… or was it?
The conviction of Chumlong for hunting rhino to legally access their horns has been very prominent in the news recently. Most everyone is cheering, “Finally a conviction!” However, s Chumlong the sacrificial lamb while the real poachers, illegal traders and wildlife traffickers go free?
Chris Mercer, well known animal welfare activist and founder of the Campaign Against Canned Hunting puts the situation in a very thought provoking perspective....
Noi Bai airport customs officers have found and seized seven rhino horn hidden in the luggage of two passengers who arrived from Qatar. Meanwhile, three parts of a horn suspected to be from a rhino have been detained in Quang Ninh Province....
The two men had taken Flight QR610 from Doha, Qatar to Hanoi that day.
Neither Chien or Than had reported the horns in their customs declaration sheets submitted to Noi Bai airport customs, and when the horns were exposed, they failed to show an import license for the horns or any documents about their origin.
The horns weighed 23.5 kg in total and were wrapped in many layers of plastic and silver papers.
Before wrapping the horn with those materials, Than and Chien had used garlic to cover the surface of each horn to reduce the natural scent of the horn and avoid detection by police dogs, customs offers said.
Officials detained the passports of the two traffickers and sent the horns to the Vietnam Science and Technology Institute for testing to determine which species of rhino they had belonged to.
The total value of the horns is estimated at tens of billions of dong (VND1 billion = US$48,000)....
On the early morning of November 7, traffic police in northern Quang Ninh Province caught N.N.T. of Hanoi’s Thanh Tri District with three sections of a horn suspected to be that of a rhino on a train travelling on the Hanoi-Cam Pha route.
The sections, weighing about 3 kg in total, were hidden in T.’s backpack.
T confessed to police that he had been hired by a friend of his, who was identified simply as D, to bring the horn parts to Quang Ninh’s Cam Pha Town for VND2 million (US$96)....
Johannesburg - A Thai national convicted of illegally trading in and exporting rhino horn should be punished harshly, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said on Tuesday.
Chumlong Lemthongthai pleaded guilty to all charges against him in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court on Monday. In a statement read by his lawyer Terry Price, Lemthongthai said he realised he was acting unlawfully, contravening the Customs and Excise Act, and committing fraud.
He pleaded guilty to illegally obtaining hunting permits that led to the illegal exportation of nearly 26 rhino horns. He was arrested in 2011 and denied bail. He had been in custody since then. His co-accused Marnus Steyl, out on R100,000 bail, also appeared in court on Monday.
Molewa lauded the country's law enforcement agencies and the SA Revenue Services in fighting poaching, the department said in a statement. A total of 222 people had been arrested for rhino poaching and related activities since the beginning of 2012.
South Africa had lost 528 rhinos to poachers in 2012. The Kruger National Park remained the hardest hit, having lost a total of 320 rhino since the beginning of 2012.
The department said it had introduced revised norms and standards for the marking of rhino horn, and for the hunting of rhino for trophy purposes. This saw the introduction of stricter controls for the granting of trophy hunting permits in South Africa.
“Should there be a clear abuse or absolute collapse in any of these controls or of provincial permitting systems, then the minister of water and environmental affairs reserves the right to institute a moratorium on hunting of rhinoceros,” the department said.
The new norms and standards stipulated that hunting applicants had to submit proof of membership to a recognised hunting association. Members were only allowed to hunt one white rhino per year. The hunt had to be accompanied by an environmental management inspector, or an official of the issuing authority.
The official accompanying the hunt had to take DNA samples of the rhino horn and fit it with a microchip.
The minister warned that individuals found guilty of abusing the hunting permit system would be severely dealt with. - Sapa
As the slaughter of South African rhinos continues, the wheels of justice keep on turning at a slow pace.
The sentencing of businessman Yahya Shoeb Jiwa of Makhado (Louis Trichardt) has yet again been placed on hold.
The 45-year-old Jiwa appeared in the Musina Regional Court last Friday. He had already pleaded guilty in July this year on charges relating to restricted activities on a special protected species without the necessary permits. Jiwa was arrested in February last year when he tried to buy rhino horns from a police agent.
Since pleading guilty, Jiwa has been awaiting his sentence. Instead, his defence team has asked for yet another postponement. They requested a pre-sentencing report to be compiled by the Department of Correctional Services to support a petition to ask the court for correctional supervision of Jiwa rather than a jail sentence....
TWO suspected poachers were yesterday morning shot dead at the Solio Ranch Sanctuary in Nyeri. The two middle-aged men broke into the heavily guarded ranch at about 3am.
However, Kenya Wildlife Service rangers spotted them and shot them on the spot. One of the poachers was armed with a G3 rifle while the other one was armed with a Somali sword.
Nyeri Police boss Kirunya Limbitu said a pair of pliers, a torch and seven bullets were also recovered at the scene. "They were targeting a black rhino or white rhino, which are very rare species in the area," said Kirunya who was accompanied by Kieni West DO John Marete.
He said the two gained entry at the Eastern side of the ranch after cutting the electric fence using pliers. Kirunya added that police have leads which will help in investigations because they recovered a mobile phone.
"The two who were aged between 35 and 40 years of age were taking advantage of the bright moon during the night unfortunately or fortunately were seen by the KWS personnel before they killed any wild animal," he added. The bodies were taken to Nyeri Provincial General Hospital for postmortem.
JOHANNESBURG — More than 30 rhinos have been killed in South Africa over the past two weeks, taking to 488 the toll of the pachyderms slaughtered this year to satisfy a booming Asian demand for their horns, the government said Tuesday.
"A total of 488 rhinos have been lost to illegal killings since the beginning of this year," said a government statement, up from 455 reported killed on October 16.
The 33 "were killed over the past two weeks," environmental affairs spokesman Albi Modise told AFP.
South Africa, home to the world's largest rhino population -- more than 18,000 white rhino and around 1,600 critically endangered black rhino -- has seen a dizzying spike in the pace of rhino killings.
The animals' distinctive horns are hacked off to be smuggled to the Asian black market where the fingernail-like substance is falsely believed to have powerful healing properties.
The horn is touted as a potent aphrodisiac and even a cure for cancer.
Authorities have so far arrested 214 suspects in connection with the killings.
Last year, a total of 448 rhinos were poached, up from 333 in 2010 and just 13 in 2007
Most of the rhinos are killed in the world-famous Kruger National Park and their horns turn up on the black market in Vietnam, China and other east Asian nations where they are literally worth their weight in gold.
More rhinoceros have been killed this year than any year before as Asian demand for horns fuels illicit trade.
JOHANNESBURG - Elise Daffue will never forget coming upon the young male rhinoceros dying in agony in the South African bush.
The young bull was struggling to breathe as it lay in the tall grass. It had been shot in the head. Maggots swarmed across its bloody snout where poachers had crudely hacked off its horn.
The animal's top lip was paralysed; it had tried to chew on grass but couldn't summon the strength.
The rescue team determined that the animal had been laying there for a week.
"It broke my heart and it broke my soul," said Daffue, the founder of stoprhinopoaching.com, who said that the plight of the animal inspired her to continue her mission. "Seeing that animal and seeing what he's been through and knowing we were helpless to help him. … Not a day goes by when his life doesn't touch my life."...
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