Tag Archives: rhino poaching

SANparks offers R1m reward for information about poachers



The South African National Parks (SANParks) is offering a cash reward of R100 000 to any person who can provide information and facts which will result in the arrest of poachers along with a further R1 million for a successful conviction of a poaching syndicate mastermind.

David Mabunda, SANParks Chief Executive Officer, also gave details about a initiative in partnership with South Africa’s Crime Line, whereby any member of the public can send anonymous SMS tip-offs on suspected crimes whenever you want , thanks to LeadSA, a Primedia and Independent Newspapers initiative.

SANParks has, furthermore, hired a retired decorated army Major General to supervise the entire anti-poaching operations in the Kruger National Park, as part of its strategies to combat rhino poaching.

The introduction of retired Major General, Johan Jooste, 60, concludes the basis of a multi-pronged strategy to fight rhino poaching. The use of an army general will assist to leverage on current capacities and strategic alliances, and at the same time give rise to all-important thinking and innovation on existing gaps and loopholes.


Rhino horn Law 2


SANparks has commended and praised one of it’s rangers who notified officials along with the police concerning a proposal from suspected poachers to collude with them. Instead he assisted to stage a sting operation that resulted in the successful arrest of the perpetrators.

“His honesty, commitment and diligence to the cause of protecting the rhino has not gone unnoticed, the organization will reward his good deed accordingly,” Mabunda said.

South Africa has lost an unprecedented number of rhinos of which a large proportion have been killed in the Kruger National Park. The consequence of these atrocities has led to warranted and unwarranted sanctions both internally and internationally on South Africa’s strategy and approach with respect to poaching of rhinos in the country. Hopefully, with this new approach and strategy by engaging Major General Johan Jooste will with time give rise to the essential invigoration in the fight against the decimation of the country’s natural heritage.

Major General, Johan Jooste, possesses a substantial amount of experience in military intelligence, border and area protection in addition to contemporary know-how about modern technology use and integration into capability. He also has knowledge when it comes to conservation.

Following his appointment, Major General Jooste clearly stated that he is not a Messiah, rather an established leader and a team player, and that he is going to do his very best to generate acceptable results. He added the fact that the fight against poaching is simply not about an individual and good results and success is dependent upon the collective partnership and dedication of all the individuals who have been given the job and responsibility to conserve the country’s heritage.


Rhino horn trade 8


He explained the battle lines have been drawn and it is now up to him along with his team to forcefully and vigoursly push back the frontiers of poaching.

The appointment of the Major General follows the deployment of a Seeker Seabird aircraft generously donated by the Ichikowits Family Foundation along with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Seeker 2 which was loaned to SANParks by arms manufacturer Denel. In addition, two military aircrafts will provide the required intelligence particularly overnight when the majority of incursions and poaching incidents occur.

“This will give added advantage to the ground troops and will hopefully act as a deterrent,” Mabunda said.



Arms manufacturer assists in the fight against rhino poaching

A memorandum of understanding has been agreed between South African National Parks (SANParks) and state-owned Denel, the largest arms manufacturer in the South Africa, whereby Denel will make use of its law enforcement technology to help in combating rhino poaching.

Currently, the most recent reported rhino death toll for the year is a shocking 549. This is 61 more rhinos killed last year. The majority of rhinos (320) have been slaughtered and poached in the Kruger National Park.

Department of Environmental Affairs have released their latest figures and reveal that over 1 600 rhino have been wiped out by poachers during the last five years. This is equal to South Africa, on average, losing one rhino every day and a half.

Riaz Saloojee, CEO of Denel is of the opinion that ” this technology will build the ability to detect and deter would-be poachers and provide early warnings to law enforcement officials deployed on the ground”.



Advanced technology for game reserves

Saloojee brought attention to the fact that Denel has, through the years, designed and produced highly sophisticated law-enforcement technology to be utilized at home and abroad. Currently, this technology is being used to fight perlemoen (abalone) poaching along South Africa’s west coast. In 2007, as a consequence of extreme poaching, perlemoen was declared an endangered species in terms of CITES regulations, however the status ended up being removed in 2010 once the illegal trade appeared to have subsided.

Denel will supply game reserves with cutting-edge surveillance and monitoring technology in combination with helping in the training of rangers to operate and interpret data from the technological devices.

Dr David Mabunda, CEO of SANParks, is positive that this initiative will assist to greatly reduce incidences of rhino poaching. “Though we admit that we have lost a few battles, and suffered a few bloody noses, we have no intention of losing this war,” he said. “We will fight until the last man or woman standing to save the nation’s heritage.”

For security reasons no details of the technology can be disclosed.



Rhinos get their own app

While Denel’s technology will with any luck, detect poachers prior to them getting to the rhino, two South Africans are, in addition making use of modern technology to raise funds and awareness of rhino poaching.

Anyone with a smartphone or tablet will now be able to download Rhino Hero, an application developed by

Social entrepreneurs Chris Masters and Alasdair Muller have developed a smartphone application Rhino Hero. Currently, it is only available on Apple devices and will eventually be available for Android.

The pair, who started their company ShortBlackMocca together, declared that 50% of the cash raised from the app’s downloads is going to be donated to the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), a prominent conservation effort which has been at the forefront of the poaching war.


Anyone and everyone can be a rhino hero

Rhino Hero centers on and revolves around the rhino Zama (isiZulu, meaning “to make an effort”) along with his endeavours to safeguard and protect his species. As outlined by Masters, the game is built to produce awareness and drive support by providing individuals an enjoyable solution to interact with the cause, which happens to be close to the hearts of many South Africans.

Zama does not have x-ray vision or super strength, rather his strength arises from the people who support his cause. The player launches Zama into poachers’ camps, driving him to take charge and eradicate the camps, one by one, scoring points and going up a level after reaching a certain number of points.

“The beauty lies in the way the game mirrors the Save the Rhino campaign,” said Masters. “One person, or in the case of the game, one rhino, really can make a difference.”



Persecution success

To date, there have only been 222 arrests made by South African authorities when it comes to rhino poaching. A dismal figure to say the least given the number of rhinos killed annually. Recently, a Thai national Chumlong Lemtongthai, was arrested and sentenced to an unprecedented 40 years in prison, which has been welcomed by the South African government .

Justice minister Jeff Radebe praised the country’s National Prosecuting Authority for their effort and work in bringing Lemtongthai to book.

“Rhino poaching and smuggling threatens the government’s efforts in preserving our environment and economic stability of the country,” said Radebe in a statement.

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com


Battle against rhino poaching continues


The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs has disclosed that 232 suspects have been arrested in connection with rhino poaching during the past year.

The arrested suspects consisted of 194 rhino poachers, 24 receivers of rhino horns, 12 couriers along with two exporters. Absolutely no buyers ended up being arrested.

Deputy Director General on biodiversity and conservation inside the department, Fundisile Mketeni, informed MPs of the fact that crimes relating to rhino poaching and sales of rhino horns was in fact grossing approximately R160 billion annually.

He stated that from 2009 and 2011; 903 reported rhinos were poached and slaughtered . In addition, he forecasted that an estimated 300 rhinos were probably going to be poached this year.

He pointed out the fact that the North West and Limpopo provinces are guilty of the highest numbers of poached rhinos.

Mketeni was speaking during a briefing to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs which was attended by over a dozen concerned organisations and individuals.

The organisations highlighted a number of challenges concerning rhino poaching in addition to proposing feasible solutions.

Mketeni revealed that the majority of the poached rhino horns happen to be destined for Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and China.

He revealed that South Africa was currently at various stages of signing bilateral agreements with these countries for purposes of combating the crime.


Mtekeni expressed his dissatisfaction with regards to the deficiency of coordination between his department together with its provincial counterparts in addition to other associated departments in dealing with the issue.

He called for his department to be given centralized powers which would permit them to decisively contend with the challenge.

Mtekeni mentioned that the department needs to have its own officers trained along the lines of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

“We are looking for our own intelligence and then use it the way we want,” he was quoted saying, implying that these would be in a position to directly pursue rhino poaching syndicates outside the country.

He said they planned to set up their own officials at ports of entry in addition to train customs officials to assist in the detection of suspects preparing to leave the country.

He called for the Department of Public Works to fix, electrify and insert an electrical detection system on the fence running along the border between the Kruger National Park and Mozambique where rhino poaching activities happen to be numerous.

Committee chairman Advocate Johnny de Lange told Mtekeni that his department could take a number of powers from provincial departments and employ them on a national level.

De Lange declared that measures must be taken to avoid the further killing of rhinos.

For comments and suggestion, contact The Department of Water and Environmental Affairs directly to air your views:

Office of the Minister
Acting Chief of Staff (Head of Ministry): Mr Frans Vilakazi

Tel: 012 336 8729
Fax: 012 336 7817
Email: Vilakazif@dwa.gov.za

Media Liaison Officer: Mr Mandla Mathebula

Cell: 083 282 6133
Email: mathebulam3@dwa.gov.za

Office of the Deputy Minister
Chief of Staff: Ms Nomxolisi Matyana

Tel: 012 336 6507
Fax: 012 336 8311
Email: matyanan2@dwa.gov.za

Office of the DG
Director-General: Mr Maxwell Sirenya

Tel: 012 336 6696
Fax: 012 336 8850
Email: Tloubatlai@dwa.gov.za

Acting Director: Ms Constance Molope

Tel: 012 336 8249
Fax: 012 308 3403
Email: central@dwa.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


Resolution agreed to at the Lead SA rhino poaching summit

Various bodies have united in the fight against rhino poaching at the Lead SA Rhino Summit held at Primedia Place on Monday 23 August 2010.

Coming out of the rhino summit is a coordinated effort between all the stakeholders to address the problem of rhino poaching in South Africa and to look at what can be done to tackle the demand for rhino horn.

It was agreed that urgent interventions need to be looked at and it was resolved to set up a committee to tackle the rhino poaching problem.

The intention of the committee is to improve communication and coordination among the anti-poaching initiatives by SAN Parks, government, police and security agencies, private game reserves and rhino owners as well as other conservation and wildlife organisations.

The initial priorities of the committee are:

Agree on a national anti-rhino poaching reporting number to allow the public to blow the whistle on poachers.
Coordinate the provision of intelligence from all groups to the National Wildlife Crime Reaction Unit.
Coordinate a national fund raising campaign for specific anti-poaching initiatives.
Run an information campaign about rhino poaching and the use of rhino horn.

The resolution was endorsed by the following representatives of organisations who attended the summit.

South African National Parks, The Hawks, South African Police Service, Identipet/ID Africa, Space for Elephants Foundation, 50:50, NSPCA Wildlife Unit, Spots, Wildlife ID, Phasa, African Outfitter, Wessa/Taylor Environmental, Entabeni LGSR, Legend Lodges, WESSA, GRAA, Private Rhino Owners Association, Vaalkop NR, Endangered Wildlife Trust, SANParks hon rangers, Mission Rhino, Mango Groove, Crimeline, Shout, EBlockwatch, Maquba Ntombela Found, CAA, StopRhinoPoaching.com, Yellowwood, Grey SA, Wildlife Ranching SA, Wildlife Group/SAVA, South African Veterinary Association, Department of Environmental Affairs, Conserv Security, Aquavision, Working Wild