According to the report conducted by National Geographic recently it is estimated that over 2,500 rhino horns left sub-Saharan Africa illegally between 2006 and 2010 with the numbers rising steadily over the last two years.
Whilst their passage may be through other countries 95% of all of these horns are from South Africa and Zimbabwe.
As of a few days ago we, in South Africa, have lost 245 rhino to poaching since the beginning of the year.
The countries showing decreased activity and demand for the horns are Japan, South Korea, North Korea and Yemen, whilst the demand in Vietnam and China is increasing.
The end user price of the horn has reached between US$40,000 and US$60,000 per kg.
The status of the White Rhino is near threatened presently with around 20,160 in the wild, Black Rhino’s are critically endangered with 4,880, Sumatran Rhino critically endangered with 150 to 220 and the Javan Rhino critically endangered with 30 surviving.
It will no doubt not be long before these populations in Sumatra and Java are destroyed as there are so few left and so close to the demand regions.
The Kruger National Park remains the hardest hit by poachers, having lost 147 rhinos since the beginning of this year.
Of the 161 arrests made, 138 of the arrested were poachers, 10 were receivers or couriers, 6 couriers or buyers and 7 were exporters.
Total number of rhinos killed this year:
|Kruger National Park (SANParks)||146||252||137|
|Marakele National Park (SANParks)||0||6||3|
|North West (NW)||57||21||24|
|Eastern Cape (EC)||4||11||3|
|Free State (FS)||3||4||0|
|Kwa Zulu Natal (KZN)||38||34||25|
|Western Cape (WC)||0||6||1|
|Northern Cape (NC)||1||0||0|
Total number of arrests this year:
|Kruger National Park (SANParks)||67||82||39|
|Marakele National Park (SANParks)||0||0||0|
|Eastern Cape (EC)||7||2||0|
|North West (NW)||2||21||16|
|Free State (FS)||0||0||6|
|Kwa Zulu Natal (KZN)||25||4||10|
|Western Cape (WC)||2||0||0|
|Northern Cape (NC)||0||0||1|
Former SANPark’s CEO, Mavuso Msimang has been appointed by the Department of Environmental Affairs as the Rhino Conservation Issue Manager. He will have to determine, by September, whether or not it will be wise to lift the ban on the trade in rhino horn to end the slaughter of these animals or provide the Department on other measures that can be implemented to tackle the marked escalation in poaching.
Since the writing of this article a further 6 rhino have been poached, which brings the total number to 251.
ROGERS BIRD FACT
The Secretary bird is a sole member of the genis of Sagittarius and its name ‘Serpentarius’ was derived from the fact that this massive eagle-like bird is an expert snake killer.
The Secretary bird is most often seen patrolling the Savannah, alone or in pairs, looking for any form of life that it can crush with its massive talons.
On one occassion while trapping Wahlberg’s eagles in the Sabi Sands during a research project I was foolish enough to try and trap one of these birds with a trap used to capture eagles. The Secretary bird was not only quick enough to kick my trap to pieces but also managed to snatch my live bait from inside the trap.
I’m unsure where the term Secretary comes from, perhaps a previous era where secretaries were normally men and were dressed in knee length black trousers.