Posts Tagged With: US

The History of Rhino Poaching

To think an animal’s body part is worth its weight in gold is mind-blowing to say the least. So how did this lucrative practice begin? Who decided a rhinoceros horn is the key to solving all ailments?

17th century rhino horn cups

17th century Chinese cups carved from rhino horn

In Greek mythology, rhino horns were said to possess the ability to purify water. The Persians from the 5th century BC used carved vessels from horn to detect poisoned liquids. This belief stuck and existed well into the 18th and 19th centuries among European royalty.

Between  100 BC and 200 AD during the Ming and Ching dynasties, the Chinese thought the same. They used the horn in carvings of plates, bowls and cups. The cups being especially prized to detect alkaloid poisoning, something that was treacherously common at the time.

dagger

Traditional Yemen dagger

Reports of Yemens’ use of the horn dates back to the 8th century. Although their fondness of horn is preferred in decorative use as opposed to medicinal. It is fashioned into ceremonial dagger handles known as jambiyas . This is a status symbol for young men. It epitomizes manhood. The quality of the horn was important because it possesses a translucent quality, that only improves with age.

The use of the horn for medicinal purposes was recorded as early as 1597, in the Chinese “Pen Ts’ao Kang Mu”.  In it there are mentions such as “the best horn is from a freshly killed male” and “pregnant women should not take horn as it will kill the foetus”. It also lists the many uses of horn ranging from stopping nightmares and curing possessions to curing headaches and dissolving phlegm.

rhino horn medicine

Chinese “medicine” made from horn

In earlier time it was not just the horn, but also blood, and urine used for medicine. This was a commonality of the Chinese, Burmese, Thai, and Nepalis.

In the early 1980s, it was even used as an aphrodisiac by the people of India. This myth probably stems from the fact that breeding pairs stay together for two to three days, and sometimes even weeks. Mating takes place several times a day and lasts for an hour or more at a time.

rhinos mating 2The earliest reports of horn trade (in addition to tortoise shell and ivory) were reported as leaving ancient East Africa for Arabia in 50 AD.

Throughout the history of trade, various countries have been involved: Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Yemen, China, Hong Kong, Sumatra, Singapore, Thailand, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa are the most prominent. Various efforts have been made in these countries to legalize and/or ban the trade as well.

What is the most interesting point in the history of the horn trade is that during times horn could be legally traded, illegal trade still flourished.

Thirty species of rhino once roamed the planet. Now  thousands of years later, there remain just five. Human greed, consumption and ignorance have cost the rhino. They are teetering on the brink of extinction. Will history teach us nothing?

rhino cave painting

Chauvet cave, France- rhino cave painting dating back 30,000 BP (before present time recordings).

Information obtained from TRAFFIC and Richard Ellis: Poaching for Traditional Chinese Medicine

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

Bright spots in a Dark year

This  was a tough year for rhinos. No doubt about it. The poachings have amounted to over 1100 deaths in 2014. Outrage, grief and frustration weigh on the hearts of all of us, but there is no room for doubt or defeat. For behind the headlines of “another rhino poached”, lie seeds of hope and strength.

*Awareness groups in Vietnam, like ENV (Education for Nature Vietnam), WildAct and WildAid have launched campaigns to raise awareness and change attitudes in Vietnam about rhino horn use.

*The Javan rhino population has increased.

javan rhino

Javan rhino via International Rhino Foundation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The US (the second largest ivory market in the world) announced a ban on commercial ivory.

*Rhinos Without Borders and And Beyond have aided in the translocation of rhinos into safer, intensive protection zones.

*Interpol is getting involved with seeking out the capture of rhino poachers, recognizing the importance of stopping poaching on a global, criminal level.

*Skukuza has increased the amount of poaching case prosecutions.

skuzuza court

38 poaching suspects appeared in just one day in this Skukuza courtroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Namibia has devoted a specialist military army to battle poaching in 2015

*The first ever World Youth Rhino Summit was convened, educating and empowering youth throughout multiple countries to be the future leaders in conservation efforts for rhinos.

*Protected areas in Sumatra have not seen any poaching incidents since 2006.

*There have been multiple arrests of poaching kingpins and syndicates; from a kingpin in Tanzania to Kwazu-natal to a syndicate in Czech-Republic.

*The death of Karanja, a 44-year-old black rhino with an intact horn, in the Masai Mara was of natural causes, not poaching.

*Kenya claims a 50% reduction in rhino poaching.

*The first birth of a new rhino at Imire in Zimbabwe, since their 2007 poaching tragedy

Shanu and babe

Mom and baby at Imire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With combined efforts, Fight for Rhinos is gearing up for 2015 to be a year of change. Together with Helping Rhinos, RPA, WildAct and you we can make a difference. “Endelea Kupigana” (Keep fighting)!

 

 

 

 

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

Just When I Think I’ve Seen It All

elephant over fence

elephant over fence 2 by Indri Ultimate Wildlife Tours

An inspirational story that we recently received involves the Elephant in the photograph covering a huge distance across farmland without damaging a single fence! Our feeling when looking at these photographs is one of utter respect – an Elephant can easily break an obstructing farm fence! These majestic animals are full of integrity, intelligence and emotion. It’s about time they’re given the respect they deserve. (via Indri Ultimate Wildlife Tours)

We do not yet know the vast intelligence, grace and wonder of these animals.  30 elephants are lost each day to poaching for the sake of trinkets and carvings. To let them disappear would be a worldwide tragedy.

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Game Changing Day or Just a Lot of Talk?

When it comes to the Illegal Wildlife Trade, Thursday February 13th 2014 will either go down in history or will simply be forgotten in time – but which will it be?

iwt-delegates-webIt was this day in February that many of the world’s leaders and their representatives gathered in London to discuss and agree a way forward in tackling the growing crisis that is the trade in illegal wildlife.  Hosted by the UK’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, and attended by HRH the Prince of Wales, HRH The Duke of Cambridge and HRH Prince Harry,   46 different countries were represented at the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference, including many Heads of State, and the outcome was the signing of the ‘London Declaration’ – and comprehensive action plan that, if achieved, has a very real chance of significantly reducing a trade that is threatening a large number of species with extinction.

But why was such a gathering even needed?  The illegal wildlife crime is now the 4th largest illicit trade in the world, behind only the illegal trade in drugs, arms and human trafficking. The illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth between $10 billion and $20 billion per year.

But why should we care? The trade is threatening a large number of species with extinction, and while the conference itself focused on species of  rhino, elephant and tiger, the outcome will support all species impacted by the trade.  But it is not only this very real threat to some of our most loved wildlife.  The trade is also known to fund a number of of different terrorist groups, and with the penalties associated with the trade in illegal wildlife much less than those associated with drugs, arms and human trafficking, many criminal networks have turned their focus on the wildlife trade.

There is also a human impact resulting from the trade in illegal wildlife.  Currently an average of 2 rangers lose their lives every week while simply doing their job of trying to protect our wildlife. That is 2 families every single week that lose a husband and father, and very often lose the only member of the family bringing in a wage to help feed them and keep a roof over their heads.  The consequences are devastating!

iwt-conference-webThis gathering in London of some of the most influential people in the world is of vital importance on so many different levels.  The ‘London Declaration’ is a strongly worded action plan and focuses on the following key areas:

  • Eradicating the market for illegal wildlife products
  • Ensuring Effective Legal Frameworks and Deterrents
  • Strengthening law enforcement
  • Sustainable livelihoods and economic development

You can read the full declaration by clicking here.

 

iwt-reception-banner-web-smallAt Helping Rhinos, we are delighted to have been invited to the reception event  for the conference, held at London’s Natural History Museum, and to have had the opportunity to talk to many of the conference delegates about the importance of not just the creation of the London Declaration, but also the importance of ownership and accountability in the delivery of the actions.

So will Thursday February 13th 2014 be a game changing day or just a lot of words?  Only time will tell, but the signs are good and our feeling is that we will look back on this day and reflect how it did help to stop a trade threatening the survival of so many species.

To contribute to Helping Rhinos and Fight for Rhinos, please go to the Paypal link on the left. Your support is needed more than ever.

Categories: Making a Difference, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Help Us Help Them: RPA

Reserve Protection Agency is a progressive conservation non-profit and public benefit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving South Africa’s threatened ecosystems.

dr fowlds working on thandi 2

Dr. Fowlds

Supported by Dr. William Fowlds, they assist rhino anti-poaching efforts with intelligent solutions and innovative technology systems.

Why we support them

  • It’s about adopting an ‘inter-agency’ approach, in other words getting different groups such as military, police, private reserves and national parks to work together.
  • It’s about engaging the local communities and giving individuals not just a job but a career path to follow.
  • It’s about allowing effective management of eco-systems and biodiversity.
  • It’s about bringing anti-poaching techniques to a new level as far as technology is concerned.
  • While the initial focus of RPA is South Africa, there are plans to roll the initiative out across the rest Africa and Asia, meaning all species of rhino will ultimately benefit from their work.

Over all, RPA have very similar beliefs to our own – that by working together, and playing to our own individual strengths is the only way  we will win the war against the poachers.  This is why we have adopted RPA as one of our beneficiary projects.

During this crucial time for rhinos, technology and united efforts are imperative to their survival. Please consider helping by donating today.

Categories: Making a Difference | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.