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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs