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

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers 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.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

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