Posts Tagged With: poachings

Will there be rhino horn under the tree?

In 2013, sadly the most popular Christmas gift in Vietnam was rhino horn. The use of horn, as well as other rare animal products is deeply embedded in Vietnamese culture, and is a current trend of a luxury item within the country’s elite.

Vietnam occasions for horn use Wildact 2015

-WildAct Vietnam 2015

Vietnam has the tragic distinction of being the country MOST responsible for the growing demand for rhino horn. The majority of consumers are mid to upper income males, conforming to the egotistical social pressures of  ‘the rarer the product, the more “valuable” or “cool” it is to have.’

Knowing the market, and being an influential businessman, Richard Branson has become an advocate and voice in the fight against horn use in the country. In September, he spent an evening in Ho Chi Minh City with the country’s elite.

“Listening to 25 of the country’s leading entrepreneurs around the table, I quickly learned how much the issue has already become part of a national conversation – one that has caused great embarrassment for a country of 90 million people that is rapidly entering the global market. But change is difficult to come by, stifled by a lack of interest in conservation issues and also by insufficient enforcement. On the upside, as I learned over dinner, younger Vietnamese seem to understand the seriousness of the problem and no longer wish to be associated with these harmful habits.” -Richard Branson

face campagin

A campaign geared toward the business men who utilize horn.

Yet according to a survey of Vietnamese youth (15-40), conducted by our Rhino Alliance partners, WildAct, there is little understanding of animal welfare. Despite the  conservation education campaigns that have been introduced, there are a great deal of Vietnamese youth still wanting to own wildlife products.

It is difficult to obtain true numbers indicating actual growth or decline in usage, but the number of poached rhinos this year is at an all time high, with at least 1500 poached in 2015.

Wildlife consumption and use is a social event in the country. It is a matter of changing tradition and trends.  To better understand the difficulty of this, imagine if turkeys  became endangered; could we convince people to stop consuming them every November?

In the meantime, how many rhino horns will be gifted this Christmas? How much longer can they sustain the slaughter and demand?

The silver lining is that in WildAct’s survery, nearly 98% of the youth agree the government should do more for wildlife conservation. Continued education and empowering the youth is the key to curbing the demand.

wildlife ambassadors for rhinos

Investec supports a program for youth ambassadors for wildlife in Vietnam.

 

 

 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Hope was never poached

Thandi was poached. Hope was poached. #72 was poached. Right?

Not according to the South Africa government.

Recently Saving the Survivors lost #72, a bull who was shot several times and died as a result of his injuries.

#72

#72

His autopsy showed the bullets from his poaching ordeal ricocheted inside his body. His vertebra was damaged, and fragments of shattered bone were found throughout his body, creating more internal injuries…. he had an abscess below his vertebra, and only had 75% lung capacity as his lungs were punctured.

As a result there was internal bleeding. Organ and tissue degeneration were evident, signs that his system was in the process of shutting down. The painkillers we administered during his treatments made it possible for him to walk, and offered him some relief. It’s evident that no amount of input from the medical team would have changed the eventual tragic outcome.

Yet #72 is NOT a poaching statistic.

Hope didn’t die, but they took her horn; yet she is NOT a poaching statistic either.

hope closeup

Hope-she lives, so she is not considered poached.

To put it simply – if a rhino is killed in a poaching incident but they do not take the horns – it will not be listed as a poaching statistic.

Any baby (calf) that is killed during a poaching of his mother (cow) does not form part of the statistics.

The government refuses to publish the exact numbers of poachings, claiming it takes too much time from their busy schedules. In addition, obviously their very definition of poaching is questionable.

Poaching: to illegally hunt or catch (game or fish) on land that is not one’s own, or in contravention of official protection. This is the literal definition the government utilizes. Yet surely in these desperate times it does not apply or accurately reflect the crisis at hand.

The figures that you get are terribly skewed. That is why it is critical for every rhino, no matter the expense, to be saved. We are losing them faster than you think. What are your thoughts on this?

Posting: Saving the Survivors

Photos: Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Heartbreak as Another Baby Rhino is Found by Tourists

Remember the baby rhino found by tourists in Kruger a few weeks back?

It’s deja-vu , another orphaned baby was found wandering on the road in Kruger this last week.

He was an eight-week-old white rhino stumbled upon by passersby.

“Badly dehydrated, covered in wounds and clearly in desperate search of shade, the calf approached my car. She called out into emptiness, looked on for a moment and then rested her chin on my door. Slumping onto her hindquarters and then onto her belly she caught a few moments of peaceful rest in our shadow.”-Liam Burrough

baby rhino Liam 2

via Liam Burrough

Another driver who stumbled upon the scene  claimed the little one was dehydrated, cut up and crying for her mom. According to Adam Baugh the rhino came up and rubbed up against the car, before laying next to it to seek shade.

They tried to comfort the orphan, giving her water and talking to her until Kruger staff arrived to assist.

Baby rhino in lebambo mountains se corner of kruger near moz

via: Adam Baugh

Is this the kind of tourism South Africa is going to be known for? Crying baby rhinos desperately searching for their mom, wandering aimlessly for hours, maybe days in the bush, hopefully stumbling upon the right people for help?

So heartbreaking to think that these innocent souls sought out help from the very species responsible for their mothers’ destruction.

As Liam said, “It is our responsibility as humans to protect these animals. Change begins with you, so get off of your ass and do something! Write angry letters, donate as much money as you can to fund guns, dogs, equipment and salaries for the hands we so badly need to stop these gentle giants from disappearing.”

US residents: Write an email to the White House and share your concern. Please don’t use profanity or racial slurs, but USE your anger and heartache to demand change! It doesn’t have to be lengthy or wordy. We need to take a stand, with each email, it strengthens our voice. The South African government needs pressure from other countries to make this a priority and get serious. http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

South Africa: http://www.gov.za/

Kenya: http://www.president.go.ke/pages/contact/

UK: https://email.number10.gov.uk/

China: http://english.president.gov.tw/Default.aspx?tabid=537

Vietnam: http://gov.vnm.tel/

If you have problems with any of these email addresses, or know of better links, please let us know.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Making a Difference, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mass Murderers At Large

groenewald with trophies

This is the face of an alleged poaching kingpin.

Dawie Groenewald:

  • fired police officer
  • car smuggler
  • money launderer
  • rhino poacher
  • banned from the US for illegally selling leopard skin
  • banned from hunting in Zimbabwe

This piece of work was arrested in 2010, along with eleven conspirators including his wife, two veterinarians, and professional hunters; in one of the largest poaching ring busts in South Africa.

The group is believed to have killed hundreds of rhinos for horn trade, selling at least 384 horns over a 4 year period. In a 700 page indictment, the state’s case includes over 1800 charges of racketeering, illegal hunting, rhino poaching and fraud against Groenewald. The prosecution also has a lengthy list of 200 witnesses set to testify against him.

groenewald home 2

Police seized $6 million of assets, including a helicopter and luxury cars, only to return them in 2013 as it was deemed an unlawful seizure.

Groenewald owns a big game ranch in South Africa as well as Out Of Africa Safaris.  In 2010 a mass graveyard of hornless rhinos was found on his property. (After de-horning them,  he slaughtered them in order to “eliminate any upkeep costs associated with live rhinos.”)

In Julian Rademeyer’s book Killing for Profit, Groenewald stated

‘It’s a good business,’. ‘I feel so fucking angry about the system that I want to shoot as many rhinos as I can get,’ . ‘And that’s not right.’

He blames the ‘system’ for the killing. ‘I don’t enjoy killing rhinos … but I’m killing them because of the system. We are forced to shoot them because that is the only way the trophies can be sold and exported. You have to kill the animal to sell its horns.’

After several postponements, the court date of 21 Jul, was yet another delay. The new trial date is set for August of 2015.

With the blood of hundreds of rhinos on their hands, the “Groenewald Gang” as they have been referred to, remains out on bail.

Rhino advocates from OSCAP outside of court.

Rhino advocates from OSCAP outside of court.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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