Rhino Poaching: Is Chumlong the Sacrificial Lamb?

Finally someone convicted for rhino poaching, illegal trade, wildlife trafficking… or was it?



The conviction of Chumlong for hunting rhino to legally access their horns has been very prominent in the news recently. Most everyone is cheering, “Finally a conviction!” However, is Chumlong the sacrificial lamb while the real poachers, illegal traders and wildlife traffickers go free?

Chris Mercer, well known animal welfare activist and founder of the Campaign Against Canned Hunting puts the situation in a very thought provoking perspective.

Shared with permission:


The withdrawal of charges against Marnus Steyl and all other accomplices in the much-publicised rhino pseudo-hunting case, raises awkward questions.

Let us leave aside for now questions relating to the dysfunctionality of the criminal justice system in S.A. and how demoralising it must be for detectives who have invested so much effort and expense to build a case against accused persons, only to see the Prosecutor tamely surrender without a fight.

Rather let us rather answer the question: what was Chumlong’s real crime? He was not a poacher: he paid top price to the rhino farmer in order to secure his rhino horns. All he did was to take a permit system designed to allow rhino farmers to sell their alternative livestock to rich white slobs from U.S.A. and Europe, and turn the permit system on its head to allow a bunch of giggling girls to get permits to kill farmed rhino.

Chumlong’s purpose was strictly commercial – to provide rhino horn to Orientals who believe that shaving it into their food will alleviate ailments. The killing was merely incidental. So, is Chumlong’s purpose morally worse than that of the great white hunter, whose purpose – apart from the ‘fun’ of killing a helpless animal – is to hang the animal’s head on the wall? Why is the fat white slob treated as a conservationist, while Chumlong is treated as an evil exploiter?

It makes no sense at all – until you understand that conservation in South Africa is owned and controlled by the hunting industry.

So what was Chumlong’s real crime, and why is he being sent to prison? Answer – for embarrassing the hunting industry.

No doubt he will be savagely sentenced for doing no more than rich white foreigners do every day, perfectly legally – smash the life out of farmed rhinos for fun and a severed head to hang on a wall.

Thought provoking isn’t it? Feel free to share via your favorite social media network.

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2 Responses to Rhino Poaching: Is Chumlong the Sacrificial Lamb?

  1. alexia abnett December 20, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    It is my opinion exactly. The poaching crisis goes much much deaper here in sunny SA! The poaching syndicates are here, unscrupulous farmers, wanting top dollar. The attitude amongst them could be that jumping on the band wagon, while one still can, is the way to go! It is all about the money, and to hoot the animals. Chumlong was the ‘fall’ guy, no two ways about it.

    • Wildlife Margrit December 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

      Thank you Alexia for taking time to comment. “Follow the money” and we can usually find who is at the heart of both good and bad endeavors.

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