Background to Rhino Poaching
In Africa we are currently seeing the methodical and calculated reduction of rhino numbers in their natural habitat. The number of poached numbers has been escalating year-on-year over the past 5 years.
It is true that we have experienced severe poaching pressure before, and defeated it. However today, because of the insanely inflated price being paid for rhino horn, the poachers are now employing a diversity of methods which no longer fall within the traditional poaching mould. Banked-rolled by substantial finances, the modern day poacher can now afford the latest technology and buy the services of skilled people and influential officials.
For conservation, this becomes a big challenge whilst at the same time an opportunity. The challenge is to find lasting solutions to the problem which will secure the future of rhinos. The public can also be a part of this and therefore it is an ideal opportunity for every South African to become involved in conservation and the preservation of their heritage.
We trust that authorities are doing everything they can and they must be applauded for all the arrests they have made. Increased pressure has resulted in an increase in the number of arrests of poachers. However, this seems to have little impact. To have a better impact, those that are higher up in the poaching chain need to be nabbed, not just the so called ‘foot soldiers’ that they hire, of which there are an endless supply. More needs to be done in order to get these criminals into our courts, and WESSA would further like to see the judiciary fast- tracking court cases against suspected poachers who, if found guilty, should receive the harshest possible sentence in order to send out a strong message to potential poachers.