How we plan to deal with rhino poaching crisis – Edna Molewa
After much speculation as to whether or not it would happen, the South African government has made it official. They have approved moving 500 rhino out of Kruger National Park.
Of the rhino to be moved, 260 will be sold to private buyers and another 250 taken to a safe location.
Edna Molewa, SA Minister of Environmental Affairs
According to Molewa, “this move, along with creating rhino strongholds could allow a total rhino population size of South Africa continue to grow.”Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs, confirmed the possibility the rhino will be sent to Botswana and Zambia, where there will be “intense protection zones”.
Crash in Kruger via Scotch Macaskill. A crash is a group of rhino-increasingly rare with the escalation of poaching.
Botswana not only has better political and economic stability and a smaller population than South Africa, but they recently banned commercial trophy hunting and in 2013 adopted the controversial shoot-to-kill policy in place for poachers.
In Zambia, the rhino population had been decimated from previous poaching. But groups like African Wildlife Foundation and Save the Rhino are working on bringing rhino populations back to varying Parks. Possession of rhino horn or a conviction of poaching can receive a sentence of 20 years in Zambia. The Tourism and Arts Deputy Minister , Lawrence Evans said poachers and other people engaged in illegal wildlife trade would be dealt with severely.
Previous rhino translocation from SA to Botswana. Photo: Mike Cowton
Although logistically moving such a large number of 2 ton animals seems difficult to say the least, they’ve done it before. Between 1997 and 2013 there were 1500 relocated from Kruger. According to Molewa that move “has contributed significantly” to the rhino population.
Disclosure of exact location could endanger the rhinos, yet it would be all too easy to maintain small groups of rhino throughout varying reserves, just enough to avoid questioning; in the meantime, selling the majority.
Even more troubling-Who are the private buyers? Trophy hunters? China? Vietnam?
With the steeping shadow of suspicion looming over them, can South Africa really afford not to be upfront?
According to a report released to the SANParks board, rhino poaching has seen an average escalation of 70% a year. At the time of this posting, 660 have been slaughtered in the current year.
For more on South Africa’s rhino poaching plan:
Minister says Intensive Protection Zone to be established in Kruger, animals translocated from eastern boundary of Park
Helicopters have been donated to assist in the move. Photo: Green Renaissance/epa
Environmental Affairs Minister, Mrs Edna Molewa, leads implementation of integrated strategic management of rhinoceros in South Africa
The South African Government will implement integrated strategic management of rhinoceros in South Africa under the stewardship of the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa.
On 6 August 2014, Cabinet deliberated on discussed the 2013 rhino population census undertaken in the Kruger National Park and decided on integrated strategic interventions for the management of rhinoceros in South Africa.
The rhino population in South Africa was rescued from the brink of extinction in the early 1900s. At the time, the rhino population in the Kruger National Park was locally extinct. Since the start of the relocation of 351 rhino from the Hluhluwe-uMfolozi game reserve in KwaZulu-Natal to the Kruger National Park 50 years ago, the Kruger rhino population had increased to between 8 700 and 12 200 in 2010.
Translocation of 1 450 rhino from the Kruger National Park between 1997 and 2013 has contributed significantly to the growth of the South African rhino population. South Africa is home to 82% of Africa’s rhino, 93% of Africa’s white rhino and 39% of Africa’s black rhino. The reason that white rhino exist is because of this country’s exemplary conservation record.
As of 2012, South Africa’s rhino population was estimated at 21 000.
SANParks conducts periodic population surveys. During the latest survey in 2013, conducted by SANParks, the rhino population survey showed that between 8 400 and 9 600 white rhinos are presently living in Kruger National Park.
It is clear from regular surveys that rhinos are found in different densities across Kruger National Park. Poaching pressure is also uneven across the Park’s landscape. Some areas are relatively free of recorded poaching incidents while others are hard hit by poachers.
Poaching, natural deaths and the translocation of rhino from the Kruger National Park presently match that of rhino births. This means that the rhino population in the Kruger National Park has stabilised.
Integrated strategic management of rhino
We recognise that poaching is part of a multi-billion dollar worldwide illicit wildlife trade. Addressing the scourge is not simple. That is why we will continue to strengthen holistic and integrated interventions and explore new innovative options to ensure the long-term survival of the species.
It is in this context that Cabinet has decided that we implement these more vigorous integrated strategic management approach aimed at reducing the threat to rhinos and the biological management of the species. This includes strategic translocation, as we have always done.
The integrated interventions adopted by Cabinet are:
- Compulsory interventions;
- The increase in rhino numbers;
- International and national collaboration and cooperation; and
- Long-term sustainability measures.
Compulsory interventions include pro-active anti-poaching initiatives, the implementation and improvement of actionable intelligence as well as the introduction of responsive legislation and policy amendments to address rhino poaching. Other interventions include continued efforts to increase rhino numbers through, for example, translocation to low risk areas, range- and population expansion.
New interventions include steps to disrupt crime syndicates. These will be implemented by our Security Cluster.
Long-term sustainable solutions, to ensure the future survival of this key species, include the creation of economic alternatives for communities taking into account the government’s sustainable utilisation policy.
International Collaboration and Cooperation
Interventions on international collaboration will further strengthen efforts to address not only rhino poaching, but illegal wildlife trade in general. It is internationally acknowledged that illegal wildlife trade results in devastating impacts on species, ecosystems, sustainable livelihoods, economies, and national and regional security.
Collaboration between range, transit and consumer States is therefore essential to address this challenge effectively. Several MOUs have already been concluded by the Department of Environmental Affairs. There is, however, a need to accelerate co-operation with key identified countries.
Bolstering Existing Interventions:
The government has realised that the work that we are doing requires continued adaptability to meet changing dynamics.
Actions associated with this include:
- Strengthening and persisting with pro-active anti-poaching operations
- Continuous joint operations with key neighbouring countries
- Improved intelligence gathering and analysis capability; and
- Improving general protection in the other parks and provincial reserves where rhino are present, with the help of relevant technology
The protection of rhinos inside parks with intensive protection zones, and technology interventions, are being complimented with extensive emphasis on national, regional and international collaboration between law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system. Greater attention will be given to collating proactive intelligence from multi-agencies – nationally and ideally regionally and internationally.
In the Kruger National Park and other parks, these interventions are aimed at reducing the threat to rhinos through numerous strategies. These include the creation of an Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ) in the Kruger National Park. Here, several technologically advanced methods are being explored to help anti-poaching teams to intensively reinforce the protection of rhinos.
In other parts of the Kruger National Park, and in national parks and protected areas nationwide, cooperative and complementary traditional anti-poaching activities help curb poaching. Among the actions taken, has been the introduction of forensic technology, including DNA analysis, in the judicial process to support the successful prosecution of alleged wildlife criminals.
The number of alleged rhino poachers arrested since the beginning of 2014 has increased considerably compared to 2013. During the 2013/14 financial year, 70 cases were finalised against 140 accused nationwide, with a conviction rate of 61%.
The most successful prosecution to date has been that of Mandla Chauke who was handed an effective sentence of 77-years in prison by the Nelspruit Regional Court.
Managing Rhino Populations
The biological management of rhino is the key focus of the Integrated Strategic Management approach. This includes ecological management of rhino habitat, such as water distribution and fire regimes, that are fundamental to the ecological management of protected areas.
An additional action is the translocation of rhino from areas where rhinos are threatened (e.g. eastern boundary of Kruger National Park), as well as areas where environmental conditions and high rhino densities restrict breeding and increase mortalities.
Our previous experience has shown that biological management, which includes translocations, has resulted in the growth of rhino numbers in South Africa. The complimentary approach of strategic relocations from the Kruger National Park and the creation of rhino strongholds will allow the total rhino population size of South Africa to continue to grow.
Translocated rhinos contribute to the creation of alternative strongholds, which are areas where rhinos can be cost-effectively protected while applying conservation husbandry to maximise population growth.
South Africa is considering a range of rhino strongholds inclusive of South African national parks, provincial reserves, communal areas and private reserves. South Africa also recognises international opportunities for establishing rhino strongholds in neighbouring countries in Southern Africa.
This approach allows the offsetting of poaching in the short to medium term, while also expanding rhino range and improving overall population size.
There are several secondary benefits of establishing more rhino strongholds, including:
- the expansion of conservation-friendly land uses;
- improved capacity and infrastructure within protected areas, especially where these were hampered through historical constraints on conservation resources; and
- To implement South Africa’s sustainable use policies
Another key priority is the creation of an enabling environment that fosters alternative economic choices for communities. Communities who are located next to protected areas bear the brunt of exploitation from where crime syndicates recruit potential poachers. Providing alternative incentives will encourage the recognition of all the values of rhino. In short, the aim is to make a live rhino more valuable to communities than a dead rhino.
Entering into Memoranda of Understanding with range states is key. The MoU with Mozambique recognises the need of strengthening community development on the Mozambican side as a key intervention.
Investigations into long-term sustainability solutions
Cabinet authorised the Department of Environmental Affairs in July 2013 to explore the feasibility of possible trade in rhino horn, or not. There is no final decision on this matter as Cabinet has established an Inter-Ministerial Committee and a Panel of Experts to consider all possibilities. Stakeholders are invited to register to participate in the process of the Panel of Experts.
The long term sustainable solutions are linked to the creation of alternative economic opportunities for communities bordering protected areas; creating incentives to promote / facilitate rhino ownership; and the consolidation of rhino population across different land-uses in South Africa including national, provincial, private and communal land.
South Africa, with its large rhino populations, has borne the brunt of rhino poaching. We remain confident that our efforts in implementing the integrated strategic approach will build on our successful track record of conserving rhino.
We anticipate that challenges will not remain static – thereby necessitating an adaptable rhino management response that changes in response to these challenges.
South Africa remains committed to the sustainable utilisation of its natural resources.
Statement issued by the Department of Environmental Affairs, August 12 2014
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YouTube violated Us for some reason and started our views over so we went from having over 16K views tonone….Idiots but whatever…as long as people see it….that is the key and any plays does go to WWF top stop wild life crime. I pay a minimum amount every month ti them anyway but still…annoyance…
Anyway, as you know about us, all Video Footage for all Sunset Music videos was done using the GoPro Hero!
Thanks especially to the tireless and what is endless work of the people that are trying to stop all Wild Life Crime every day and in every way, and thanks to any participants who please, if you want to be credited in any way, contact us now at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will do it that minute.
Again, this video is monetized in some way (ad shares, amounts of plays, amounts of views, etc.) and therefore any and I mean 100% of all revenues made from it, will go to the WWF.
Illegal wildlife trade has exploded to meet increasing demand for elephant ivory, rhino horns, and tiger products, particularly in Asia. Controlled by dangerous crime syndicates, wildlife is trafficked much like drugs or weapons. Wildlife criminals often operate with impunity, making the trade a low-risk/high-profit business. Today, it is the fifth most profitable illicit trade in the world, estimated at up to $10 billion annually.
WWF is leading a global campaign to stop wildlife crime.
We are applying the strength of our worldwide network, our influence with partners and governments, and the passion of our supporters to a crisis that is threatening to undo years of conservation progress. The past year has already yielded some big wins like Thailand’s ban on their ivory trade and support from champions such as U.S. President Barack Obama. Join our campaign and help us:
Push governments to protect threatened animal populations by increasing law enforcement, imposing strict deterrents, reducing demand for endangered species products and honoring international commitments made under CITES.
Speak up on behalf of those on the frontlines being threatened by armed poachers so they are properly equipped, trained and compensated.
Reduce demand for illegal wildlife parts and products by encouraging others to ask questions and get the facts before buying any wildlife or plant product.
As a matter of fact, we have set up an automated monthly payment which I am matching BTW, every month. Thanks for the help and for your participation in stopping all wildlife crime. If you want to donate direct to the WWF for the Stopping of All Wild Life Crimes, please click here (https://secure3.convio.net/eii/site/Donation2?df_id=1942&1942.donation=form1).
I did one video for a charity one day using the GoPro footage and I am NOT sure what happened because I went off doing at least one for all of our Sunset music artists. I had so much fun doing it. I never made a video before these ever in my life. Thanks again because it was fun to break away from my real work to do this creative work!
Also, please visit this artists web site at http://www.Richtaste.sunsetrecordings.com and visit Sunset Records at anytime at http://www.sunsetrecordings.com.
Overall, thanks for the great support because we had almost 15K views in less than a month before the YouTube officials flagged it, deleted it, and started it over here for some reason that had something to do with us changing distributors. But whatever, and again, thanks for the support building these plays, etc. (again)…and most of all, we hope you enjoy the music and this music video!