News / Africa

South Africa Game Parks Wage New Battles Against Poachers

South Africa Game Parks Wage New Battles against Poachersi
X
January 28, 2014
South Africa is known around the world for its breathtaking wildlife. The country is home to an astounding number of mammal species. But some, like elephants and lions, face a serious threat from poachers. Animal parts are being sold for high profits on black markets, particularly in Asia. VOA's Chris Simkins reports on a private game park in South Africa, where protecting the wildlife from poachers is a top priority.
TEXT SIZE - +
Chris Simkins
— South Africa is known around the world for its breathtaking wildlife.  The country is home to an astounding number of mammal species.  But some, like elephants and lions, face a serious threat from poachers.  Animal parts are being sold for high profits on black markets, particularly in Asia. Protecting the wildlife from poachers is a top priority in a private game park in South Africa.

This private South African game park is home to hundreds of mammals.  This area, part of the larger Kruger National Park region, is also a hotbed for animal poachers.  They kill elephants for their ivory tusks and lions for their bones. The poachers are also targeting rhinos for their horns.  

Park Ranger C.J. Lombard has seen the devastating impact of rhino poaching.

"You find a female that's been hacked apart and the calf next to a dead mother, knowing that the calf has been staying there for weeks with its mom - refusing to leave the mom and dying of starvation.  It really does make you very angry," said Lombard.

The South African government says more than a thousand rhinos were killed by poachers in 2013, the highest number on record. Already in January more than 37 rhinos have been slain.

In Asian countries rhino horn, which is believed to have some medicinal value, can sell for about $60,000 per kilo.

Lombard and his tracker Patrick Moyane guide tourists through the game park.  They're also part of frontline efforts to stop poaching within this 11,000 hectare private park.
 
"As a member of a team if I can find the poachers we will catch them and put them in jail," said Moyane.

This game park has increased security as part of a number of anti poaching measures.

C.J. and Patrick are tracking rhinos here at the Thornybush Game Reserve in South Africa. One of the initiatives that is being done at this park to stop rhino poaching is to inject poison into each of the rhinos' horns, making it unsuitable for human consumption.

Another measure used to protect the rhino from extinction includes farming them and harvesting their valuable horns.  The horns grow, much like hair and nails do.

Lombard says he favors a South African government proposal to sell some of its stockpile of rhino horns to finance conservation and potentially flood a thriving black market.

"Maybe it works manybe it doesn't work. I think anything is worth trying at this point as long as it does not create a new niche to make rich men richer at the cost of our wildlife," he said.

Some argue legalizing the sale of rhino horns will drive up demand.

Chief park ranger Juan Pinto says more public awareness campaigns are needed to stop animal poaching.
 
"For me the biggest issue is it is a belief.  It is someone's belief that the rhino horn gives them this benefit and you cannot change a belief because belief is stronger than fact," said Pinto.

Lombard and Moyane keep an eye out for poaching activity during game viewing excursions.  They say until other anti-poaching measures prove successful, they will continue to work with the park's security teams to protect the animals.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid