Tag Archives: rhino horn

Public invited to comment on rhino law


Members of the public are invited to comment on the newly proposed amendments to the norms and standards for the marking of rhinoceros horn and hunting of white rhinoceros for trophy hunting purposes.

Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa published the proposed amendments in Gazette No. 34650, General Notice No. 685 published on the 30 September 2011.

The suggested amendments state that the horns have to be transported from the the location where the hunt took place to the taxidermist or similar facility to be processed and prepared for exportation.

At present, the provincial conservation authorities issue permits for sport hunting of rhino and a regrettable challenge being encountered with regards to the permitting of rhino hunting, is the abuse of the system by unethical individuals.

“The proposed amendments are meant to address the abuse of the permit system,” said Department of Environmental Affairs spokesperson Albi Modise.

“Despite the fact that illegal hunting is the main threat that could impact on the survival of rhinoceros in the wild in the future, more stringent provisions pertaining to hunting is necessary to ensure processes are standardised and to reduce possible abuse of the system,” he said.

He explained the Department views this in a very serious light and is dedicated to combating rhino poaching and abuse of the permit system. This is evident from the many interventions that have been initiated to this end.

Rhino horns acquired as a consequence of dehorning of the rhino, which were not micro-chipped, will now have to be micro-chipped by the permit issuing authority.


Provincial authorities will have to retain the information relating to rhino horns on the TRAFFIC rhino horn stockpile database and the Department of Environmental Affairs must maintain the national database.

On the management of the hunting of white rhino, all rhino hunts must be strictly controlled by way of an individual Threatened or Protected Species (TOPS) hunting permit issued by the issuing authority to make certain that all rhino horns can be traced to the property where the hunt took place.

In the event the rhino horns were not already micro-chipped, they would need to be micro-chipped on the property where the hunt took place, immediately after the hunt.

It is also proposed that rhino hunts must take place under the supervision of a conservation official, preferably an environmental management inspector (EMI) from the province concerned, subject to a permit being issued in the name of the hunter.

The official or EMI who attended the hunt must immediately after the hunt provide the Department of Environmental Affairs with information relating to the hunt and the relevant micro-chip numbers.

The CITES export permit for the white rhino trophy, which must be accompanied by a duplicate of the TOPS hunting permit, has to be endorsed by an EMI ahead of the export of the trophy.

DNA samples of rhino horns are a proposed new section in the norms and standards. This section states that DNA samples of horns must be collected when live rhino are darted for translocation, treatment and any other management purposes.



DNA samples also have to be obtained from detached horns acquired through amongst others natural mortalities, dehorning, or rhino horn trophies, when such horns have to be micro-chipped.

The results of the DNA samples seek to assist enforcement officials to achieve successful prosecutions during criminal proceedings.

DNA samples has to be collected by a registered veterinarian in charge of darting a live rhino, an official from the issuing authority responsible for the micro-chipping, or the conservation official or EMI who supervises the hunt and who has been properly trained in DNA collection.

The DNA samples have to be sent to the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at Onderstepoort without delay.

Any person who wishes to submit representations or comments in connection with the proposed amendments to the norms and standards is invited to do so within 30 days of the date of the publication of the notice in the Gazette.

Comments must be sent to:

By Post to: The Director-General: Environmental Affairs, Attention: Ms Magdel Boshoff, Private Bag X447, Pretoria, 0001

By Fax to : (012) 320 7026

By email to: mboshoff@environment.gov.za.

Source: BuaNews


Rhinos to get retribution on poachers

South Africa lost no less than 19 rhinos inside the first half of 2010. The state of affairs are so critical that the South African National Defence  has been deployed in a number of national parks in an attempt to prevent poaching.

At this point, rhinos have been armed with the method to fight back. Ed Hern, owner of the Rhino and Lion Reserve in Kromdraai, near Krugersdorp in Gauteng, has developed a scheme to make the much-coveted horn less palatable.

Hern created controversy last year when he was quoted as saying: “We need to try poisoning the horns with something like cyanide so when someone uses it for medicine they will die. I have started testing with a vet.”


Reluctant to be held accountable for murder, as well as on the recommendations of conservation body Endangered Wildlife Trust, Hern moderated his position. Since that time he has been testing with non-lethal, but disagreeable ingredients to inject into the rhino horn in a desperate effort to halt the butchering.

The toxic combination has been fine-tuned and tested in animals which had been injected over 12 months ago and have exhibited zero side effects – only humans suffer.

On 7 September the reserve’s Rhino Rescue Project declared that it is going to proceed with injecting its chemical mixture into a lot more horns. The news has been applauded in advance of World Rhino Day today.


The formula is made up of a number of ectoparasitacides, that is, drugs that are meant to eliminate parasites that reside on the outside of of the host.

Even though the formulation is not lethal – which has caused yet another storm of online comments from angered rhino supporters who desire nothing more than to see culprits slain – it will bring about side effects such as convulsions and severe headaches.

Add to that a neon pink dye, impossible to get rid of or alter, intended to make the horn visible on airport x-ray scanners, and enable authorities to make arrests then and there.


Hern said in a statement: “A permanent remedy would be to eradicate demand for rhino horn completely.”

He added that education and learning is vital in persuading consumers – who come for the most part from the Far East – that rhino horn is made up of no nutritional or medicinal value.

But with 90% of rhino figures decimated in recent times, an extreme and instant approach is required, and Hern is convinced his methodology can provide this solution. The procedure, which generally lasts 3 to 4 years, will in addition keep parasites away.

Although some people might consider that the tactic will not work on big reserves with large numbers of animals, like the Kruger Park, it could be successful in private reserves which may have only a handful of rhinos.


Rhinos in crisis

By the end of 2010, in excess of 330 rhinos ended up being poached in South Africa alone. This is actually the highest number of deaths ever documented.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature observed during 2009 that approximately 12 rhinos were poached in South Africa and Zimbabwe on a monthly basis. By comparison, statistics revealed that in other rhino territories such as India and Nepal, the toll in 6 months was 10 and 7 respectively.


Despite the fact that gains have been made as a consequence of dedicated conservation efforts, particularly in South Africa, the rhino population is not large, with three of the species listed as critically endangered.

The global population, at the end of 2010, was in fact estimated at 25 045 in Africa and merely 3 100 in Asia. South Africa’s count is approximately 18 800 white rhino and 2 200 black rhino.

The spectacular animals have to deal with a very real prospect of extinction as levels of poaching increase.


Killed for their horns

The rhino, from the Rhinocerotidae family, occurs as five species. Two of these – the white and black rhino – are native to Africa, while the Indian rhino, Sumatran Rhino and Javan Rhino are native to Asia. The latter animal, one of the most engandered in the world, has the lowest population count of all the species, with just 50 individuals still alive.

The much-prized horns are simply just compressed keratin, a protein also present in hair and fingernails, and have absolutely zero medical value. Unfortunately this has not halted people over the centuries from seeking it for ornamental or medicinal purposes.


The ornamental use of rhino horn goes back to at least the seventh century AD, and today is commonly used for this purpose mostly in Middle Eastern countries such as Yemen, where it is carved into elaborately designed knife handles.

Many Asian countries are convinced that rhino horn not only cures ailments, but at the same time acts as an aphrodisiac. This has never been scientifically proven.

It is because of these flawed beliefs that hundreds of rhinos are poached each and every year, and the quantity is climbing. Rhino horn has been acknowledged to fetch up to R430 200 ($60 000), per kilogram.


Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com


Yet another South African veterinarian arrested for Rhino Horn Crimes

A distinguished wildlife veterinarian in South Africa has been caught for unlawfully detaching the horns from 15 rhinos. Dr. Andre Charles Uys apparently dehorned the particular rhinos within the Maremani Game Reserve, situated in Limpopo Province.

Dr. Uys was already released on R10,000 (US $1,416) bail at the Musina Magistrate’s Court and is also scheduled to appear for a second time on March 18th.

The doctor is faced with a charge that includes breaking Section 57 (1) of the National Environment Management: Biodiversity Act No 10 of 2004 – An individual is prohibited from carrying out a restricted activity involved with a specimen associated with a listed endangered or protected species without having a permit granted with references to Chapter 7.

The particular public arrest was carried out as a result of the hard work of the National Wildlife Crime Reaction Unit, directed by the Hawks. At the present time, general public information and facts are unavailable with regards to the present whereabouts of the horns in addition to whether or not the horns have been confiscated by respective authorities.

Certainly not the first veterinarian associated with rhino horn criminal activity

This particular occurrence is certainly not the first time a veterinarian appears to have been suspected of rhino horn offences.

Last September, Dr. Karel Toet and Dr. Manie du Plessis associated with the Nylstroom animal clinic were actually detained in connection to a well known rhino horn syndicate, in conjunction with Dawie Groenewald (Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris).

The particular high-profile “Groenewald gang” is scheduled to appear once again in the court in April 2011, in order to deal with charges of assault, fraud, corruption, malicious damage to property, unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition, in addition to contravening the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act.

‘Insiders’ involved with unlawful rhino horn industry

An escalating volume of arrests with regard to rhino horn offences already have implicated “insiders” from within the South African conservation community, looking to take advantage of and cash in on the ignorance as well as misconceptions associated with the benefits of using rhino horn.

Currently there happens to be an in-depth investigation around this distressing subject matter – Are ‘Insiders’ Intentionally Fueling Demand for Illegal Rhino Horn?, which notes that nefarious business alliances, loophole abuse, private stockpile leakage, dehorning scams, and legalized trade speculation are exacerbating South Africa’s rhino crisis.

Already eight rhinos killed worldwide this year

2011 has already been off to a particular discouraging beginning.

When it comes to South Africa, the most up-to-date slaughtering of rhinos took place in KwaZulu-Natal. Previous to that, two rhinos had been murdered in Kruger National Park, a pregnant rhino ended up being slaughtered around the Hoedspruit area, in addition to another in close proximity to Musina. One more was slain in the Eastern Cape, within Kariega Game Reserve in the proximity of Kenton-on-Sea.

Globally, 1 rhino also has been murdered in Nepal in addition to one more in India, bringing the international death toll to eight since the beginning of this year.

During the course of 2010, 333 rhinos ended up being slaughtered in South Africa, just about tripling 2009’s total amount of 122.

Rhinocerous horn purchase prices ‘soar’ immediately after departing from Africa

Despite the fact that rhino poachers are generally believed to get paid approximately R25,000 for each and every kilogram when it comes to Mozambique, and only somewhere around R30,000 per horn in South Africa, the purchase price is without a doubt much more found in rhino horn consumer countries around the world.

Typical rhino horn weights are by and large determined by making use of three kilograms for black rhinos, and five and a half kilograms for white rhinos.

With the help of up-to-date forex rates in addition to average weights of white rhino horn, the more expensive Mozambique value of R25,000 per kilogram could quite possibly signify close to $20,000 US dollars (per horn) for murdering a rhino.

Having said that, the moment rhino horn actually leaves Africa, the purchase price soars.

When it comes to Vietnam, rhino horn possibly will without difficulty command USD $40, 000 per kilogram. The purchase price climbs even more significantly within China, to a number exceeding USD $60, 000 per kilogram (D. Anderson, TRAFFIC, pers. comm., 30 December 2010).

On going utilization of unlawful rhino horn in traditional ‘medicines’

At the root of the rhino catastrophe is most likely the persistent utilization of rhino horn in traditional Chinese medicine.

Unlawful rhino horn is actually extremely desired to be used in traditional medicines in China and Vietnam, even though rhino horn has long been thoroughly investigated and possesses absolutely no medicinal qualities.

Studies carried out by the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC discovered that the majority of rhino horns going out of Southern Africa are increasingly being smuggled into China and Vietnam.

Dispersing Chinese footprint in Southern Africa

It has recently been observed the fact that the spreading Chinese presence inside Southern Africa seems to have positioned the actual demand for rhino horn perilously near to the supply, not to mention counter poaching studies already have linked the rise in rhino and elephant murders to a deluge of Chinese weapons in the area.

Abuse of CITES research loopholes

There are certainly additional fears that state-funded rhino horn use recommendations coming from China served as one of numerous reasons relating to the tremendous increase in rhino murders throughout Southern Africa.

Many of these proposals, which experts claim surfaced in 2008 and 2009, strongly encourage the utilization of rhino horn, and firmly advocates that the PRC government is trying to bypass CITES research provisions through process of blurring the lines between research and commercial trade in rhinos.

Source:buanews.gov.za, rhinoconservation.org, bushwarriors.wordpress.com, globeonlive.com, guardian.co.uk, csmonitor.com, belowthelion.co.za,