Sunday, January 15, 2012

# 12 The beauty and CRUELTY of Africa...

I have to apologize to my friends upfront for this very shocking post...but unfortunately as things are right now, it seems to be necessary! And although my main aim for this year is to post things that I am grateful for, I believe that in this case it is necessary to highlight the seriousness of the situation!

Africa is a continent rich in wildlife and although the wildlife has to compete with people and commercial enterprises, there are still some of us that really care for the future preservation of our wildlife species.

Rhino Poaching in South Africa has suddenly reached shocking proportions. And it feels as if everyone is just helpless to prevent it.
 On the left is the statistics for South Africa ONLY on rhinos poached in the passed 12 years. One doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to work out that at this rate the rhino will be extinct in a decade from now!! In the past 9 days of 2012, 29 rhinos have been killed for their horns (20 of them in our biggest national park, The Kruger National Park - our jewel!!)

The cause of it really is the MYTH that rhino horn has medicinal  properties, the latest, that it can cure cancer! It has been scientifically proven that it has ABSOLUTELY NO medical or other "wonder" properties! Adding to that the fact that at the moment rhino horn sells for $60,000 PER KILOGRAM (no, I haven't added any extra 0's) on the black market, greed and visions of getting rich quick compounds the problem. It is worthy to note that other than the organized criminal poaching syndicates, the perpetrators are often poor local citizens.

Rhino horn has been an essential ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Despite China being a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and banning the trade in rhino horn and its derivatives in 1993, current rhino poaching levels suggest that the use of rhino horn continues unabated in traditional medicine markets.

Rhino poachers in South Africa are even targeting dehorned rhinos for two reasons, firstly there is still a substantial piece of horn below the surface of the skin and secondly by killing the rhino it increases the price of rhino horn as it becomes a more valuable commodity. It is for this second reason that many poachers are also killing baby rhinos which have little or no horn at all.

FACT: Rhino horn is NOT a remedy for fever, pain, arthritis, or any other medical condition. Rhino horn does not cure cancer - and it is not an aphrodisiac.

Feel free to read the article in the link below on studies proving that rhino horn is just that - RHINO HORN

A SOUTH African game reserve owner has developed a non-lethal poison that he has injected into the horns of his rhinos in a bid to deter the poaching syndicates that are slaughtering one of the country’s most endangered species.

Mr Vergnaud said the anti-poaching formula contained three substances, which were injected into the horns of two female rhinos and a calf at his reserve outside Cape Town late last year.
The first substance injected was a dye that is used to foil cash-in-transit robbers by marking the bank notes if the box they are kept in is forced open.
This would appear on the inside of the horn to spoil it for decorative purposes.
The second substance injected makes the horn visible on an X-ray scanner, which will make smuggling horns through border customs more difficult.
And the final substance is called barium – this has an off-putting taste and makes those who ingest it mildly ill.
“It tastes very bad if you put it into your mouth. You can’t swallow it, it is just too disgusting. Even if someone is crazy enough to swallow it, it will just cause some diarrhoea and nausea, he said. “It’s harmless no one can die from it.”
Increasing evidence links South Africas rhino poaching with wildlife industry insiders. These individuals are obviously in a great position to run wildlife crime syndicates and are typically also well funded and connected within the industry.

There are also rumors that rhino poaching syndicates are penetrating the hunting industry. The hunting industry obviously has access to guns, permits, vehicles and charter aircraft making them target for rhino poaching syndicates.

These rumors seem to have merit because some of the recent arrests have been that of game ranchers, safari operators and professional hunters. 

How do we stop all this? I really don't know! But I will be damned if I do not try at least to make people aware of the crisis! 


QUOTE OF THE DAY: Rhino horn is made up of keratin, the same substance that makes up YOUR hair and nails! Would YOU like someone to pull out your nails and cut off your hair to make a powder that is going to magically cure you from disease?? I didn't think so!!

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