Wednesday, 1 August 2012

strategy against rhino poachers

Desperate search for a strategy against rhino poachers
Cape Town - It is a bloody, nasty business: The Poacher's most wounded or stunned by the brutal rhinos removed with axes and chainsaws, the great mighty horn meat.

The animals are left bleeding profusely and waidwund back. Most die - a painful death.

The illegal hunting of rhinos in southern Africa, their last great habitat, increases in years. By March of this year, poachers in South Africa alone have killed 135 of the pachyderms. 2011 there were 448 rhinos, 2010 or 333 - almost three times as much as in 2009. There are also legally hunted rhinos: 2011 143 paid for big game hunters up to 80,000 euros each.

The hunt is fueled by a growing market for the coveted rhino. In China and Southeast Asia, it is regarded by many as a medicine and - contrary to all scientific evidence - as an aphrodisiac, so as a means to stimulate sexual desire. Buyers pay according to the "International Rhino Foundation" up to 50,000 € per kilogram.

"Rhino poaching is operated by international organized crime," says the head of WWF in South Africa, Morné du Plessis. It is not sufficient reason, "the poachers to hunt. Governments in Africa and Asia must work together to find the gang bosses. "

Between the often well-organized and armed poachers and animal rights activists a raging war. Both sides have been upgraded significantly over the last few years. The criminal hunters come with helicopters and jeeps to operate with semi-automatic weapons and night vision devices, which can be seen even from four miles away, the outlines of a rhinoceros.

Only 2011 26 poachers were shot dead by security forces in South Africa. Security forces took over 230 people - set for rhino poaching - including several Asians. In Pretoria, there was even a Vietnamese diplomat arrested with sawed-off horns, but was expelled because of their immunity only.

"We are dealing with organized crime at the highest level," says the South African Environment Minister Edna Molewa. "Who wants to fight poaching, must first of all put the black markets in Asia dry", calls WWF conservation expert Chris Dickinson.

"In Vietnam, there are eleven web addresses where you can order rhinoceros," complains Tom Milliken of conservation organizations, "Traffic". Asia's trade is rarely prosecuted.

Main theater of war in South Africa is the Kruger National Park, which is 20,000 square kilometers, almost the size of Hesse. Due to size and location - on the border with Mozambique - it still manages 650 park rangers and the deployment of soldiers and non-electronic border fences to control the park. Especially since recently also park rangers were arrested are alleged to have been working together with poachers.

Will continue to search for an effective strategy to combat poaching. One idea was to remove the horn of the rhinoceros coveted by a veterinarian and expert guidance to make the animals to poachers unattractive. The horns grow with the years after again.

But the tourism industry which is less than enthusiastic: "The visitors want to see real rhino, with horns, of course," says Katrin Pleske, German tour guide in Cape Town.

Others are considering poisoning the horns of the animals so that they no longer fit for human beings are. The "Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve" near Johannesburg was the game farm operator Ed Hern even deadly cyanide into the horns of the spray pachyderms - but that was rejected by the veterinarian. Now, experiments with agents that cause severe abdominal pain for consumers. Environmentalists are skeptical.

In some national parks in South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania were rhinos microchips used in the horns, so that they can better monitor. Alarm is triggered when an animal suddenly start running longer than normal sleep or leaving the park. The use of the chips also facilitates the prosecution of poachers. The traces of horns can be tracked.

South Africa's government has recently commissioned a study that seeks to clarify whether the legalization of trade under strict state control could be useful. The South African game farmer John Hume is convinced "that rhinos are extinct soon if we do not legalize the trade." The only way to "stop the massacre of rhinoceros" that.

Meanwhile, the courts impose draconian penalties against poachers. Three men from Mozambique were recently sentenced to 25 years in prison. They had been caught with guns, an ax and two freshly severed horns. Minister Molewa praised the verdict. This will show how seriously the government takes the fight against poachers. South Africa's rhinos are a "national treasure", which applied to protect.

Recently were also convicted five men who had raped a 19-year-old woman because she was a lesbian, and then they killed. The sentence: Every 18 years for the perpetrators. Many in South Africa asked whether the standards are not as messed up. "Why do dead rhinos more headlines than dead people," criticized the newspaper "Mail & Guardian."

Adapted from Proplanta