Rhino, rhino poaching, rhino horn, legalize rhino horn trade, de-horn rhino, South Africa, Joseph Okori WWF
Since we started the Nikela Rhino Rescue revolution I’ve had this photo as my wall paper. Today as I looked at it I felt a deep sadness. Here is this gentle beast along with kudu, zebra and wildebeest absolutely free, living like they all deserve to be living.
However, in reality no rhino in South Africa is free anymore. Even those roaming “free” in the great Kruger National Park or expansive reserves and sanctuaries are living under constant threat. “Is today the day they get killed for their horn?”
Every day we’re still getting reports of killings. So far this year as of May 4th, 2011 138 rhinos have died when their horns were brutally stolen.
Right now the only thing that keeps the “free” rhinos safe are personal body guards! Yes, rather silly isn’t it that this huge animal needs a body guard… but they do.
Rhino in the News:
Times Live reports that the “water and environmental affairs minister Edna Molewa said that her department would commission a feasibility study to probe the viable of legal rhino horn trade in the country.” According to East Coast Radio South Africa, “the WWF’s (World Wildlife Fund) Joseph Okori, says since no other country has a legal trade in rhino horn, internationally South African trade would still be considered illegal.”
De-horning is interfering with nature… they have their horn for a reason, plus they grow back as they are like our finger nails. Legalizing behaviors (selling worthless medicine) that are wrong don’t make them right. I recall Zurich having nothing but trouble in the ’70’s when they legalized hard drug use in one of the city parks.
The idea behind legalization is, as I understand it, to (1) drive down the black market price… which is good and (2) control the number of horns sold. In theory this may be logical… but in reality the “bad” guys aren’t suddenly made “good” because of a change in the law.
Okori goes on to say the only real way to curb the brutal trade is to take action against the illicit markets in the Far East.
“Now is the time to tackle the source and this is focusing on countries like Vietnam that have been implicated. We need to see strong diplomatic action.” – East Coast Radio
What do we do in the meantime? The owner of a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa (she prefers to remain anonymous in order to protect the location of their rhino) reports that she is in discussion with a local group of pilots offering aerial surveillance. This monitoring from the air, though costly, may prove to be an effective means to keep poachers at bay.
What is Nikela doing to help? What can you do to help?
Take a PB’nJ (that’s a peanut butter and jelly sandwich) to lunch, once a week or once a month instead of eating out. Give some of what you save, say $7 each month to protect a rhino by keeping a ranger, in the field. Help pay for a rhino body guard if you would! Crazy but reality!