Legal rhino hunting in South Africa could be abolished

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  1. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Legal rhino hunting in South Africa could be abolished

    Their small horns and even their toenails have been taken by poachers. Or they have been shot or hacked to death as they stand bewildered and crying next to their mother's body, simply because they are irritating the poachers who are busy removing the mother's horn.

    They have been found trying to feed from the carcass of their slain mother in a last-ditch attempt to find comfort.

    These baby rhinos are the victims of the poaching onslaught sweeping through South Africa, where female rhino are being killed and leave behind unweaned calves.

    Environment Minister Edna Molewa said last Monday that the government was considering a moratorium on legal rhino hunting, saying illegal hunting and abuse of the permit system might be the main threats to the survival of rhino in the wild in the near future.

    Discussions on the moratorium would be held with provincial MECs next month, she said.

    Wildlife sanctuary SanWild has called on all South Africans to appeal to the minister to issue a moratorium on all legal hunting of rhino, saying there was sufficient evidence that legal hunting continued to fuel the illegal trade in rhino horn "to a great extent".

    SanWild founder Louise Joubert said: "In 2009, Cites reported that only 20% of horns from rhinos legally hunted in South Africa entered the home countries of the hunters via legal channels. It is highly possible that the rest entered the illegal black market trade a moratorium is needed to adjust legislation to prevent the abuse of the current system by rhino owners and professional hunting outfits and their clients, whose main objective remains short-term financial gain."

    Joubert also confirmed that they had approached the authorities to obtain the necessary permission to respond to, locate, rescue and relocate orphaned calves to SanWild where they can be treated and hand-raised.

    She said the poaching crisis in the country had seen numerous cows with young being killed in a horrific manner.

    "Many of the calves remain by the dead mothers' side, crying continuously in the most heart-rending way. All of us who have experienced such a situation know it is possibly one of the most emotionally upsetting situations any animal lover can experience.

    "The young calves, helpless and incredibly traumatised, continuously seek comfort from their slain mothers," said Joubert, adding that older calves would flee in terror and remain on the run for hours or days, unable to understand why their calls to their mothers go unanswered.

    "Calves that have returned while the poachers are busy hacking away at their dead mothers, have summarily been shot or hacked to death simply because they harass poachers by actively trying to defend their immobilised (and sometimes still alive) mothers.

    "Poachers have immobilised calves and wounded mothers by hacking off the tendons on their back legs, rendering the animals unable to move or run before their horns are hacked away," said Joubert. She said most farmers and landowners did not have the expertise, knowledge or facilities to deal with the immediate crisis on how to keep a calf alive and raise it to adulthood.

    "Our organisation has the will, the knowledge and expertise to respond immediately, absolutely free of charge.

    "It is essential to ensure that an effective programme is in place to locate, rescue and relocate surviving calves within hours to ensure the best chance of survival.

    "Once such calves have reached adulthood and are fully rehabilitated, they will be released back to the wild in safe areas," she said.

    Also brought into the sanctuary this week was a rare baby pangolin, with its mother, who were confiscated from a Joburg sangoma.

    "Pangolin scales are sought after in the muti trade, not only in our country but also overseas.

    "Last year in Malaysia, 22 000 were taken from the wild in wildlife trafficking.

    "There have been cases where the scales have been pulled off, with the animal being left in agony," said Joubert.

    As pangolins feed on termites, the baby pangolin, named Syd (from the movie Ice-Age), has been put on a diet of termites mixed with milk.

    Despite its scaly appearance, the pangolin is not a reptile, but a small mammal whose scales are made from the same protein that makes up human hair, according to the African Wildlife Foundation.

    They are nocturnal and generally remain in their burrow during the day. When born, the baby is folded in the mother's lap or rolled-up body. By the second day, the baby's pale, soft scales begin to harden. Nursed for three to four months, it begins to eat termites at about one month. At this time, the infant starts to accompany the mother out of the burrow, often riding on the base of her tail.

    Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife vet Dave Cooper said they, too, had a baby rhino, orphaned through poaching.

    "It is one of the big problems we are faced with. Sometimes we don't even know there is a baby involved, unless we find tracks.

    "The poachers will throw rocks at a baby, who will try to stay close to its mother. They would also rather use an axe or a panga than risk the sound of another gunshot."


    Source: iol.co.za
  2. WyoWes

    WyoWes AH Member

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    I worry that if the huge financial incentive for land owners to have Rhino's (legal hunting fees), isn't enough for the farmer to do what it takes to protect his investment. What will happen to those animals when they have lost the value of the animal due to the moratorium. Poaching is a horrible crime and poachers should be dealt with in the harshest of terms. It's a sad situation and very complicated, especially in a country with so much poverty. Like drugs, we need to get to the people buying the product and stop it there. As long as there is a huge financial gain to be had there will someone willing to take the risk. Just look at the lengths the drug cartels go through to get drugs to the U.S. For my two cents they need to be doing more to crack down on the users, stop the demand and the price will drop, causing the risk ratio to be more unfavorable and less profitable, that will decrease the amount exported. We need to save the Rhino! This is the only animal left for Dakota's big five but he won't shoot one until he's sure there is a sustainable population, even though it's completes the big five. Good write up.
  3. observe

    observe CONTRIBUTOR AH Fanatic

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    this is a hot potato and a two-edged sword and i'm going to stick my neck out here......
    if you take the hunting aspect [financial worth] away,then very view privately owned rhino's out there would be worth the efford to private gamereserve owners.
    i further also dont think that to put a ban on the ethical and legal hunting of rhino's would stop the poachers, or in any way lower the illegal demand from the unscrupelous end-users.

    --"saying there was sufficient evidence that legal hunting continued to fuel the illegal trade in rhino horn "to a great extent".---

    my two-cents worth is that this statement got a lot of 'greenie' sentiments in it,and though joubert might be doing a very good job with orphaned rhino calves ,[and these facts are indeed a tragedy] it does not take the full picture or scope of the problem into consideration, but appeal heavely on the emotional sentiments of some readers.
    the legal and ethical hunting of rhino's [or any other animal for that matter] are NOT part- or the source- of the problem of poaching [and ultimately the end user]
    legal hunting activities can NEVER be mentioned in the same context as poaching or the illegal trade
  4. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    What really is needed is "World Cooperation" in stopping poachers of rhino.....and huge stiff penalties for doing the poaching...even if means a death sentence. That's as blunt as it gets....no more protection for the wealthy that are funding the poaching.

    It these rhino horn seekers want horns...they need to legally hunt for them! Period...end of story!
  5. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    If they close hunting of White Rhino in RSA and I was a landowner....I would not want them on my property. All they are is liability....waiting for some poacher to get them. Because so far no government in Africa, has shown any concern in prosecuting the poaching rings.
  6. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

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    This would truly be a sad day for the Rhino. If they abolish hunting of Rhino they will certainly be in trouble as no ranchers will want them. It will be the beginning of the end. No value for the animal they will disappear. If they are going to survive the governments will have to step up and punish poachers extremly! Death sentences are the only thing that will deter poaching. The survival of the Rhino may have to come from the government having huge ranches - heavily armed to protect them from extinction. The ranchers don't have the money nor man power to stop poachers on their own!

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