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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
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.


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