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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs