Hooo-Hooo Volume 10, nr 4 - Page 29

What does the future hold? If you add the new figures released by the minister the number of rhino killed for their horns in South Africa since 2006 stands at 5,763. The number is undoubtedly higher given that rhino would certainly have been killed but carcasses never found. The Kruger park record looks better, in spite of a noticeable increase in elephant poaching. But HluhluweiMfolozi is now under threat. With rhino horn fetching around $60,000 per kg in the booming markets in Vietnam and China, the temptation to poach is great. Rhino horn is a lucrative alternative for poor people struggling to feed, clothe and educate their families, as it is for greedy white professional hunters, former parks officials and even qualified veterinarians. Security is being stepped up, but park This single piece of rhino horn, from a non-lethally dehorned rhino, is worth about $40,000. Keith Somerville Problem shifts elsewhere Molewa did briefly note that although poaching had declined in Kruger it had increased in other areas. The number of carcasses found has increased in HluhluweiMfolozi Reserve in Kwa-Zulu Natal. The director of the reserve, Jabulani Ngubane, told me that 95 rhino had been poached in the reserve since the beginning of the year, a big increase on last year. The reserve has about 4,500 white rhino and 500 black rhinos. Cedric Coetzee, the head of rhino protection for Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, told me that he feared that poachers could shift to his reserve. One reason for this was the success of security measures at Kruger. The other was that the high density of animals in his reserve – about three rhino to a square kilometre – meant that a killing could take only two to three hours. officials admit the use of intelligence is disorganised. And many of the army and police units sent to supplement park rangers had no experience of working in thick bush full of potentially dangerous animals. One option is some form of regulated trade from dehorning sedated rhinos, natural mortality and horn seized from poachers. But it is contentious and conservationists are divided on the [issue]( (https:// africajournalismtheworld.com/2016/09/11/rhinohorn-and-conservation-to-trade-or-not-to-trade-thatis-the-question/). One must hope that the downward trend in poaching continues. All one can say is that there are improvements in Kruger National Park but the war is not won. For sure, there are more battles to be fought. 2016 SEPTEMBER 29