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

Ukraine President Appeals for More US Support

Speaking before Congress ahead of meeting with President Obama, Petro Poroshenko urges lawmakers to back Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy More

Photogallery Global Audience Watches as Scots Go to the Polls

People were almost equally divided over a vote for independence, watched closely by Britain's allies, investors and restive regions at home and abroad More

China to Invest $20B in India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high-profile visit 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid