Challenge: Free Study 2014-09 (Advanced Editing VII)
Camera: Nikon D300
Lens: Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 EX APO IF HSM for Nikon
Location: Poachers love to know where animals are...
Date: Sep 20, 2014
Galleries: Animals, Photojournalism
Date Uploaded: Sep 30, 2014
|Help save our Rhino from ruthless poachers.
For the past 40 years Hunting Concessions, Game Farms, National Parks have contributed enormously to bringing both White and especially the Black Rhino's back from the brink of extinction due habitat loss and a disinterested government and public. Where there were only a few hundred left in the wild to over 8000 at the height of breeding and release programs in the Kruger National Park alone. Throughout South Africa the population estimate reach(ed) over 10,000. But since the turn of the century poachers are killing 2 Rhino's every 3 days for their horn; a chemically useless mass of hair that when ground down to a powder and sold in Asia (mostly Vietnam and China) is claimed to be an aphrodisiac. It is not ivory. It is nothing more than a mass of condensed hair and is akin to eating your toenails. Removing the horn at the base affects males fighting capability over the ladies. If a dehorned Rhino cannot defend himself against a fully horned opponent he will be skewered and die, rather than possibly just lose the fight to live another day. Dehorning Rhino does not protect them from poachers. After spending 3, 4, 5 days tracking the spoor of a Rhino in the bush when they come across the Rhino and see it is dehorned the poachers will simply kill the dehorned Rhino so as to not track it in vain again later. (You cannot determine if the Rhino is dehorned by looking at it's tracks!)
Ink injection into the horn is pointless and non-effective, and is easily altered during conversion to powder.
The real solution is to re-fence the countries eastern boundary with Mozambique (which was removed a few years ago to create a transfrontier park with the Kruger Nat. Park) and patrol the entire park with our SANDF (Defence Force) as we did in the good old days. Shoot poachers on site like they do in Kenya and Botswana. But our esteemed government has pulled the plug on a small SANDF force doing patrols for the past few years. Now it is up to Park Rangers, who are animal specialists, not soldiers, to protect the Rhino. They carry single or double barrel large calibre rifles to protect themselves from Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Leopard, Buffalo charges, not fully automatic AK-47 toting ex Mozambique or Zimbabwe bush war soldiers or modern day poachers.
Many agree (and many "conservationists" disagree) that harvesting the horn in farms just like we do with Crocodiles for shoes, wallets and belts, chickens and salmon for food, ducks for their down and livers, and any amount of other domesticated animals for human consumption, we should be able to harvest Rhino horn and bring much needed foreign revenue into our oil-less country. Rhino horn grows back a few centimetres every year. Control the market, give value to a live animal and the species will survive, just as hunting brought monetary value to previously valueless animals and thus prevented their demise, now farming programs will create value and a price controllable commodity. It will also protect pristine bushland for Rhinos and nature conservation rather than being bulldozed flat and made treeless and bio-diversity dead for maize, tomatoes, sugar cane, cattle, goats or any other human foods.
Over 700 Rhino were poached in SA last year. This year by October 2014 we are at over 400 poached for only their horn. We are farting against thunder. The current going rate is $90,000-00/kg for the powdered form. Thankfully poachers have to trek amongst the most dangerous wild game in the world; the big 5; Rhino, Elephant, Lion, Leopard, African Buffalo in the KNP. Not to mention some very nasty spiders, snakes, scorpions and the risk of catching malaria. We will never know how many poachers have died by Lion or snake whilst in the Kruger. But we can count how many Rhino's have been poached.
www.sanparks.co.za/groups/hr/default.php, www.ewt.org.za and www.wwf.org.za are three of the few legit collection agencies. Ignore the rest as many appear to be only interested in their own pockets and are oft scams.