The use of rhino horn as a recreational drug or cancer treatment in Asia is based on myths, but has escalated exponentially over the last few years. As a result, rhino in Africa and Asia are brutally slaughtered in huge numbers for their horns. With prices able to fetch more than cocaine or gold, the trade is attracting the attention of organised crime and terrorist organisations alike. So whether you have a passion for rhinos or not, the trade could potentially still have an impact on all of our lives.
A national campaign to raise funds for South Africa's rhinos by asking 'ordinary South Africans to do something extraordinary' raised R300,000 last weekend in Rustenburg, as 64 people took part in the launch of Skydive for Rhinos 2012.
The event took the campaign's fundraising tally a step closer to the R10million goal, with three other Skydive for Rhinos events still to take place around the country.
There was a narrow window of opportunity to save Africa's northern white rhinos from extinction but bureaucratic ineptitude slammed it shut and the species has now almost certainly vanished from the wild. The last-ditch effort to save the animal in its final Congolese refuge is detailed in a new book, "The Last Rhinos," by South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony, who died of a heart attack in early March just weeks before it was published.
Johannesburg - The government has reached agreements with two countries in Asia, and is targeting a third, as it reaches out to the continent with the highest demand for rhino horns in an attempt to curb poaching.
Environmental affairs deputy director general of of biodiversity and conservation Fundisile Mketeni said on Wednesday a memorandum of understanding between South Africa and both Vietnam and China on rhino poaching had been completed.
Avaaz "Save the Rhino's" petition fuels discussion about rhino conservation and the Southern Africa's rhino industry. "As many may be aware there is a petition doing the international circuit organized by the Avaaz group. It has the laudable goal of calling for an end to rhino poaching but at the same time advocating simple solutions for what is a very complex issue. The attached letter from the Chairs of the IUCN SSC African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG) and the Sustainable Use & Livelihoods (SULi) has been sent to the Avaaz team to alert them of our major concerns reference this petition."
Despite increasing numbers in scattered populations, it is still a tough fight to save this mega-herbivore. The Nairobi National Park is famed for being the only wilderness park in the world bordering a capital city that can boast free ranging lions as neighbours. Yet few know that the national park is also a vital sanctuary to conserve one of the most endangered mega-herbivores on the planet — the black rhino and the white rhino.
Pretoria — The number of rhinos poached in South Africa since the beginning of the year has risen to 210, the Department of Environmental Affairs said.
Of the total number, the Kruger National Park has lost a "disturbing" total of 127 rhinos since January 2012. "Government views the poaching of this national treasure in a very serious light and continues to prioritise our fight against this crime through coordinated, joint efforts," said the department.
SOUTH Africa is considering whether to approach the international community with a proposal to trade in rhino horn, Environment Minister Edna Molewa told MPs on Wednesday. Opening debate in the National Assembly on her department's budget, she said this included engaging "major role players, including international and regional partners (and) potential consumer states".
Dr Toni Harthoorn, a pioneering wildlife veterinarian who helped to develop a "miracle drug" to immobilise and ultimately rescue Africa's white rhinos from extinction, died in Pretoria in April. He was 89. Harthoorn and his wife Sue (nee Hart) also ran an animal orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya, which served as the inspiration for the television documentary Daktari and the film Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion.
New norms and standards for marking rhino horn and trophy hunting will be implemented immediately, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said on Monday. "The gazetting of the new norms and standards is another significant step that the department is taking in the fight against rhino poaching," Molewa said in a statement.
Pretoria — A total of 171 rhinos have been killed between January and April this year, the Department of Environmental Affairs has announced. It said it was perturbed by the continuous loss of rhinos through illegal killings. According to statistics, rhino poachers are targeting the Kruger National Park which has suffered a loss of 103 rhinos.
Four rhinos have been poached and dehorned in three different incidents in the past week. Two white rhino carcasses were found dehorned in the Lake Nakuru National Park. According to the KWS senior warden John Wambua, the rhinos were nine months and were found in the swampy part of the park. He said the wet weather had impeded regular patrols.