News / Africa

South African Conservationists Use Poison to Save Rhinos

South African Conservationists Use Poison to Save Rhinosi
X
Zlatica Hoke
November 12, 2013 6:15 AM
South African environmentalists are using an innovative measure in an effort to save the rhinoceros. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
South African Conservationists Use Poison to Save Rhinos
Zlatica Hoke
South Africa – home to most of the world’s rhinoceros - continues to struggle with effective means to curb poaching, which has reached alarming rates in recent years. Government and private game reserves are employing a variety of methods, including armed patrols and cutting off Rhino horns or poisoning them to make them worthless on the black market. Several hundred rhino horns have been injected with poison so far this year, in the hopes that it will make some difference in the fight to save the animal from extinction
 
Rhinos are targeted primarily for their horns, which can be sold for tens of thousands of dollars on the black market in Asia. The ground up horn is used in traditional Chinese medicine, while the eyes and the tail are sometimes used in witchcraft.
 
Graham Shipway, the general manager of a lodge in the Plumari Africa Game Reserve near Johannesburg, South Africa, has found at least two dead rhinos in recent weeks.
 
"[The poachers used] a heavy caliber bullet. They hacked off her horn… gouged out her eyes… and they cut off her tail. All for two kilograms of horn," said Shipway, discussing one of the dead rhinos he found.
 
It is estimated that nearly 800 rhinos have been poached in South Africa so far this year -- more than 3 percent of the country's total rhino population.
 
Game farm owners have been hiring armed security guards to patrol their reserves, which can be a dangerous job. Now, they are trying a new tactic: they poison the rhinos' horns.
 
The rhino is injected with an anaesthetic, so that it's paralyzed but conscious.  Then a hole is drilled into its horn, which is injected with a poison that's dyed red.  Conservationist Lorinda Hern says the substance is safe for rhinos, but harmful to humans who ingest it.  Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, nerve damage and even death in extreme cases.
 
"If you buy a horn and it's [a red] kind of color, you obviously know that it's been tampered with and that it's not safe for human consumption. So, yeah, 60,000 U.S. dollars per kilo versus zero," said Hern, showing how the poison changes the horn’s hue.
 
Once the procedure is complete, the rhino wakes up groggy but unharmed. 
 
"It is a little bit sore, hard sore, but I'm happy in the fact that I now know that she is potentially very, very safe," said Shipway.
 
Conservationists hope to save hundreds of rhinos each year by making their horns worthless to poachers.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs