News / Africa

S. Africa, Vietnam Join Forces to Stop Poaching

Rangers look at an anti-poaching aircraft named Seeker, which is being shown to reporters at the Kruger National Park in South Africa, December 4, 2012.
Rangers look at an anti-poaching aircraft named Seeker, which is being shown to reporters at the Kruger National Park in South Africa, December 4, 2012.
South Africa's anti-poaching efforts got an international boost this week, when Vietnam agreed to work in tandem to decrease the illegal trade. As rhino poaching hits decade highs this year, wildlife advocates say this is a big step in the right direction for conservation.

South Africa is taking its fight against rhino poaching abroad. Officials signed an agreement on December 10 with the Vietnamese government to prevent and discourage poaching.
The agreement seeks cooperation between law enforcement in both countries, a mutual compliance with international poaching laws and strong anti-poaching legislation within both countries.
Richard Thomas, a spokesman for TRAFFIC, the anti-poaching organization that helped bring the two countries together for the agreement, says this is a big step in the right direction.

"The success or otherwise of the agreement will be highly dependent on the political will to implement it," said Thomas.  "If such will exists - and we've already seen it does on the South Africa side of the equation - but now we have official public recognition by Vietnam that there is a very real issue with illegal rhino horn trade in that country too - it means adequate resources will be devoted to having a real impact on the organized criminal networks who are behind the horn trafficking."

South Africa is home to about 80 percent of the world's rhino population. Vietnam is one of several Asian countries with a high demand for rhino horn, which is mistakenly thought to cure cancer or be an aphrodisiac, among other perceived uses.
Thomas says official Vietnamese cooperation is a significant step. 

"I think it's very significant that Vietnam and SA have made this agreement to actually tackle, the actual agreement, the wording of it, doesn't specifically mention rhinos but both the ministers in their speeches made specific references to rhino trafficking so I think that's an important development that you have these two political figures recognizing," Thomas added.
As the agreement was being signed on December 10, sobering new numbers were released here in South Africa:  618 rhinos have been killed so far this year, almost double the number killed in 2010.
Dr. Jo Shaw, a rhino coordinator with the World Wildlife Fund in South Africa, applauded the agreement, but says urgency is essential in combating rhino poaching.
"There really is no room for complacency and we really do need to see commitment from government in combating the problem," said Shaw.

South Africa has upped its anti-poaching measures in the last few years, but is also now determined to bring more international players into the fight, says Albi Modise, the spokesman for South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs.
"Rhino poaching is an international problem. It might be occurring in South Africa, but it is driven by the international demand," Modise noted.  "For us effectively to deal with the on-going poaching, we also realize that our approach must be multi-pronged. One of the problems we need to look at is how we engage with foreign countries like most of the Asian countries.  We've just signed an MOU [memorandum of understanding] now with Vietnam, our plan is to sign one with China, with Thailand as well and we are in discussions with Hong Kong authorities as well.

Shaw says the international response to poaching has to target several areas.
"I don't think there is any one single solution," Shaw added.  "I think it is going to need to be a range of different roles taking place over different time frames. The MOU is actually around part of regulation and law enforcement. It's great to see politicians taking wildlife crimes seriously."

Thomas reiterated the importance of action after this agreement.  Thomas notes that rhino poaching is showing no signs of slowing down and indeed it has escalated from 13 animals in 2007 to more than 600 this year.

You May Like

Germany Celebrates 25 Years of Unity

October 3 is a public holiday, marking the day in 1990 when East Germany and West Germany reunited More

Analysts: Russia's Syria Strikes Shake Regional Powers

If Moscow bolsters Assad, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf countries may feel obliged to step in More

Video Innovative Nano-Tech Water Filter Prevents Disease

It can absorb contaminants like copper, bacteria, viruses and pesticides, says Askwar Hilonga, who has been successfully trying out his product in Arusha More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Fred
December 12, 2012 2:59 PM
The statement " We really do need to see support from Government in combating the problem", says it all. However
it does go alot further than this, given the strike by Kruger Park Rangers this year. Personnel are key in this effort a point overlooked. Ideally Special InvestigationTeams to follow up and investigate illegal hunting are a consideration. These Teams should have adequate resources, operate independently in large groups throughout RSA and be able to deploy at short notice. These groups should also have members in the field that can process criminal cases for the Courts, on behalf of the SAPS.

by: newshound from: Germany
December 12, 2012 11:30 AM
sir/madam : displaying, as you do, a strange-looking aircraft as the icon of your story, you forgot to explain how it managed to fly.There
is no means of propulsion evident in the picture. How please?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs