News / Africa

South Africa Game Park Protects Rhinos Against Poaching

South Africa Game Park Protects Rhinos Against Poachingi
X
January 17, 2014 10:25 PM
Almost 1,000 South African rhinos were killed for their horns in 2013. With the horns more valuable than gold in Asian markets, the ancient species is losing the fight against possible extinction. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from a private game park, where experts are trying to still save the rhino.
Chris Simkins
2013 was a very bad year for South African rhinos with almost 1,000 animals killed for their horns. That death toll is 50 percent higher than in 2012 - despite a more concerted international fight against poaching and an international trade ban that has been in place for decades.

South Africa is home to more than 25,000 rhinos, roughly 80 percent of the world's rhinoceros population. But with their horns more valuable than gold in Asia markets, this ancient species is losing the fight against possible extinction.
 
"It's a national treasure for us [in South Africa]. That's why it is so important for us to protect these guys," said Park Ranger C.J. Lombard.

He and his tracker Patrick Moyane are out on another game drive looking for rhinoceros.

"If you look carefully you can see the front toenail. One side toenail, the other side toenail and the heel of this male rhino," explained Lombard.
 
In this private South African game park, part of the larger Kruger National Park, Lombard and Moyane not only track rhinos but search for poachers who want to kill the animals for their horns.
 
During this game viewing excursion, they come across a pair of rare black rhinos, one of the world's most endangered animals.
 
"This is such an amazing and beautiful moment knowing the history and everything that's got to do with rhino poaching," noted Lombard. "And yet here's this beautiful black rhino mommy with her calf."

Lombard said this sighting is a positive sign amid an anti-poaching fight that gets tougher all the time.

"It’s an ongoing war and you need to constantly be ahead of these guys [poachers] and coming up with new ideas and new techniques," he said. "It is becoming very much modernized in the ways of trying to stop these guys from poaching our rhino's."
 
The Kruger Park area has been the hardest hit by poaching yet this private reserve hasn’t lost a single animal.  Staff here credits their policy of injecting poison into the horns. It doesn't harm the rhinos but makes their horns unsuitable for human consumption.
 
The measure is designed to curb a thriving black market for rhino horns in Asian countries where they are believed to have some traditional medicinal value.  Despite the fact that rhino horn is little more than protein similar to that of human hair or nails, it can fetch about $60,000 per kilo.
 
That is powerful incentive for poachers, who are becoming increasingly organized, well-armed and bold.
 
The mission of protecting the rhino is personal for Moyane who grew up in this area.
 
"I want to see all of these animals alive. If they disappear then we will be left with just saying there was a rhino like this and the next generation will never know they will just see them in books," said Moyane.
 
Despite a variety of anti-poaching measures - which include public awareness campaigns both in Africa and Asia - chief park ranger Juan Pinto said the rhino is still sliding towards extinction in many other locations. 

"There needs to be political, international and government influence that needs to come into play from multiple countries that want to try and stop this," he said. "It is not going to be stopped from a ground root level only."
 
The game rangers and trackers here say they'll do everything they can to protect the rhino for future generations to enjoy. But they say if rhino poaching doesn't stop, these majestic mammals will be lost forever.

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid