Sad News – Another rhino poached in the Pilanesberg
When will this onslaught end!!! The rhino corpses are piling up while the greed and the blatant disregard for these incredible animals is running rampant.
The gestation period of a rhino is about 450 days. And we are not sure what the ignorant users in China and Vietnam think but unlike mice rhinos only have 1 calf. Poachers are slaughtering the rhinos at a rate of nearly 1500 a year in South Africa. That’s nearly 4 a day!!! So guess what? The death rate has far exceeded the birth rate which is spiraling into extinction within the next few years. And then what? Will they decide that lion feet and elephant tusks are also an aphrodisiac?
How do we stop this onslaught???
The latest slaughter was reported on 2 November in the Pilanebserg National park in the North West Province. This time poachers brutally killed an unborn calf, its mother and sibling. The poachers were confronted by the park rangers and didn’t get away with the horns-But left 3 rhinos dead in their wake. The mother and sibling were gunned down and died from the gunshot wounds. The unborn calf died inside the mom and rangers were unable to save its life in time. This brings the number of rhinos poached in the Pilanesberg to 16 this year.
The Pilanesberg has one of the best anti-poaching units in South Africa. The park is situated in an extinct volcano crater which creates a natural ‘ring complex’ border that should be in theory a lot easier to patrol. Regular airplane patrols are conducted to try and spot any irregularities. But an airplane cannot work at night. Having spoken to a couple of the rangers in the park it has become apparent that the poachers gain access to the park undetected just before the full moon- a perfect time for poachers as the they use the natural light to strike making it difficult for the anti-poaching units to find them. The use of torches would give away their location. During the day the poachers will lie low hidden somewhere avoiding the anti- poaching foot patrols.
How do they smuggle the horn out of the Pilanesberg?
This is a question I had to ask? Apparently the poachers make their way to the perimeter fences and throw the horns over to waiting vehicles. Helicopters would not work for poachers as the Pilanesberg airspace is pretty easy to monitor and any ‘unchartered’ flights would be detected.
And so the war against this onslaught continues. As a poacher is arrested or killed, there are a multitude of pawns that the poaching kingpins have access to. They don’t care if a poacher is killed. They just replace them. Unfortunately there are many desperate people who will do what they have to do to feed their families. The cost on the black market per kilogram is $65,000. So the kingpins have no problem offering a poacher a mere $1000 for the horn. And that is a lot of money for someone living under the breadline in South Africa. So the police spend an eternity arresting thousands of poachers just to create an opportunity for more desperate people to join the ring of murder.
How you can help?
A difficult one as the problem goes beyond awareness and education. We all know the consequences of rhino poaching and so do the fat cat king pins who will relentlessly pursue their greed until there is no rhino left. And the fact is that they just don’t care. It’s all about greed and status. A human emotion that is difficult to cull. The problem has to be tackled at a governmental level. Tighten border security? Keep the rhinos in ‘protected zones’ under 24/7 watch? Dehorn the rhinos?
In the meantime, maybe citizens could help by supporting some of the incredible anti-poaching units out there like ‘Save the Rhino Organisation (https://www.savetherhino.org/) to help them at least try and maintain the levels until a resolution can be found.