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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid