In South Africa, 280 rhino have been killed to date for 2013. At this rate, it is predicted 1 000 rhino will be slaughtered this year. South Africa is home to more than 90% of the global rhino population.
Scientists forecast if poaching rises as fast as it did between 2009 and 2012 the population will go into decline by 2016.
The price of rhino horn has overtaken the price of gold as demand has burgeoned in Asian countries, mainly China and Vietnam, where consumers wrongly believe that the horn — made of the same substance as fingernails — has powerful healing properties.
Chinese traditional medicine prescribes it for everything from typhoid, infant convulsions and fever to an antidote for poison and to relieve arthritis and cure possessions by the devil.
Syndicates from Vietnam, China, South Korea and Thailand have been identified as being involved in the trafficking.
The slaughter continues with the number of deaths increasing even though South Africa has declared war on rhino poachers and for two years has deployed soldiers and police in Kruger, a vast park which is the size of Israel.
IN MOZAMBIQUE… Mozambique’s rhino population was wiped out more than a century ago. Reconstituted several years ago, it has again been driven to extinction.
Dr Solomon Joubert, who was director of KNP ( Kruger National Park) from 1986 to 1994, said that the number of rhinos being poached was now surpassing the number of rhinos being born annually.
The white rhino population has historically enjoyed a 5-8% annual increase annually, but the mortality rate is now surpassing this, placing the population in very real danger -explained Joubert.
According to the latest figures released by the Department of Environmental Affairs, 280 rhinos have been poached in South Africa this year and some experts predict that this number could rise to close to 1000 by the end of the 2013.
The exponential rise in rhino poaching has been fuelled by sky rocketing demand in Asia and the establishment of highly organised crime syndicates operating in South Africa and neighbouring Mozambique. Joubert said that these issues were only a small part of the problem and that he suspected corruption within government to be a major factor.
People are corruptible. Not only do the financial rewards appeal to the desperate souls who are recruited to do the dirty work, but also to people throughout the ranks. This includes officials within the KNP and those in government and is symptomatic of a large management problem. Discipline and passion for conservation are waning. – Joubert.
KNP head of conservation, Dr Freek Venter, told journalists during a recently held media tour that Mozambican authorities have different laws regarding rhino poaching and that the stiff sentences given to poachers in South Africa are not applicable in Mozambique.
The Mozambican authorities are not coming to the party. They don’t take the issue as seriously as us and they do not have nearly enough resources to do anything about it. – Dr Freek Venter
Article Source: www.thulathula.com