"Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it”

Rhino War and Photography

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Rhino poaching within Africa has reached yet again an all time new high with a total of some 543 Rhinoceros poached dead for Traditional Chinese Medicine. Even with vast awareness campaigns, increased border patrols, upping Anti Poaching and funding the killing continues. Will it ever end? how long is a piece of string?

From the 30th June 2014 the (DEA) Department Of Environmental Affairs (South Africa) issued their Rhino poaching statistics of which was then 496. Since then a further 50+ have been bludgeoned leaving many people feeling hopeless, let down by their government, and debating on whether it is really a practical choice to support a trade in Rhino horn.

Poaching statistics for 2014 have again beaten records for the years 2010-2011. For both years, poaching statistics for 2010 were 333 poached Rhino and for the year 2011 we saw a total kill rate of 448. Poaching statistics for 2012 look as if they are most likely going to be beaten by this years June-July figures too that saw a total of 668 Rhinoceros poached in cold blood.

On a positive note arrest rates are also allegedly increasing from last year that saw a sky-rocketing 1003 Rhinoceros poached. Increased arrest rates doesn’t necessarily mean we are winning the battle, it merely shows that more and more poachers are encroaching from over the border into South Africa. 2010 saw a total of 165 poachers arrested, 2011 – 232, then in 2012 a total of 267 poachers were arrested, 2013 arrest rates shot up of which a total of 343 Rhino poachers were arrested. For June-July 2014 a total (estimate) arrest rate sees some 141 arrested. So 1148 poachers have been arrested yet we have only seen a handful of these poachers actually charged, brought to justice and convicted.

Its hard to actually believe too that Rhino horn made up of almost the same identical properties as human hair, finger nails, horse hoof, and parrot beak is selling illegally on the black market for a whopping $65,000kg whereas gold sells for a mere $43,000 kg and cocaine illegally trading at some $20,000 kg. Demand is not decreasing and while demand increases so will poaching and as explained there seems to be no end of the onslaught insight.

A powder made from the horns is prescribed in traditional Chinese medicine to cure fever and convulsions, but the substance is now used as a status symbol and a very expensive way for affluent Vietnamese to cure hangovers or, supposedly, to get high—even though the horns are composed of the common material keratin and have about the same psychoactive effects as snorting a fingernail clipping.

By weight, the horns go for anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000 per kilogram—single horns are about 3.5 kg, on average—making the substance significantly more pricey than other ubiquitous status symbols and intoxicants. Indian Rhino horns are still the most sought after and pricer too. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa spoke with their Indian counterparts of which confirmed Indian Rhino horn is illegally trading for $80,000 kg. The reason for such high price is mainly due to the Indian Rhino’s endangered status. South Africa is home to about 75% of the world’s 29,000 rhinoceroses, but if the country can’t stop the poaching, it may lose that status, said Naomi Doak of the wildlife monitoring network, Traffic. “We are going to reach the tipping point for rhinos,” she told the BBC. “By the end of 2014, we’re starting to be in the negative in terms of deaths and poaching outstripping birth, and the population will start to decline very quickly.”

Trade in Rhino horn is outlawed by the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, but some argue that the best way to undercut black market horn trade is to give it competition in the form of a well-regulated, cheap and legal market for cultivated horns. Rhino horns can be removed harmlessly and regrow—so legalizing the trade could facilitate horn farming that doesn’t harm the animals. Others argue that such an option would encourage misconceptions about the medicinal properties of ingesting the horn and overwhelm the market with demand, allowing poachers to simply coexist with legal trade.

The South African government acknowledges that something has to change. The country’s minister of environmental affairs, Edna Molewa, said that government officials have been meeting to consider “a proposal for the legalization of commercial international trade” to be brought up at the next Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species meeting in 2016. Whilst many are arguing and debating on whether a legalised trade should be opened International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa and Asia are still venomously against such trade of which will kick all conservation efforts backwards. We’re basically giving into the Asian using community should trade be made legal, we’ve fought for so long and provided evidence that clearly shows Rhino horn has no medicinal active properties.

By giving in and should trade not work there us no going back and we will most certainly lose our ionic species the second largest land mammal. According to government statistics, a great majority of Rhino poaching occurs at Kruger National Park, the largest game reserve in Africa, covering 19,000 square kilometres. At the reserve, hunters and those who are impoverished slip through the park’s borders to kill and de-horn Rhinos, earning the equivalent of a typically monthly wage in a single night. Though Kruger has hired soldiers and dogs to stand watch against poachers, they cannot efficiently patrol all of the park’s land. However, when rangers or soldiers do come into contact with poachers, a shoot-out often occurs, with poachers regularly getting killed in a skirmish with security staff. And were not just talking about any reserve here that to some may sound quite easy and straightforward to patrol. Kruger National Park is the size of Israel covering a massive 19,485 kilometres square.

In Nov. 2011, two rangers spotted poachers who were tracking a white Rhino at Ndumo Game Reserve. When the rangers ordered the men to lower their weapons, the poachers, instead, pointed their guns at the rangers and shot. The shoot-out eventually led to the apprehension of one poacher and the death of another, Erasmo Mazivele. Astonishingly, the magistrate, who ruled over the court case in June 2013, convicted the apprehended poacher, Wawito Mawala, with murdering his accomplice, even though it was the rangers who killed Mazivele. The magistrate stated that Mawala had been the cause of Mazivele’s death because Mawala had knowingly put the Mazivele’s life in danger.

The placement of security at game reserves and the persistence of rangers have been positively helping the fight against Rhino poaching. According to the Game Rangers Association of Africa, within the first four months of 2014, 96 low-level Rhino poachers have been arrested. However, not all law enforcement assigned to protect these Rhinos can always be trusted. There have been numerous cases where rangers assigned to guard reserves have been found aiding poachers. This has always been a major concern to International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa of which is strictly monitoring where they place funding too and where equipment is sent, the risks are high, corruption is rife and where a months wages can be made in a day the urge to cross that line and illegally slaughter or aide poachers is tempting to rangers that are barely paid a weeks salary for a months work.

Though the majority of Rhino poaching occurs at Kruger, smaller reserves have also been affected. Poachers have hunted in a variety of game reserves, leaving behind mutilated carcasses of Rhinos, with their horns hacked out of their heads, their eyes gouged out, and their genitalia and ears cut off. To make matters worse, new hunting methods and high-calibre weapons have been developed to make the poaching of these 900 kg animals easier. Helicopters, high-powered rifles, tranquillizer guns, veterinary drugs and night vision goggles have all been used. Since Edna Molewa ordered a “restriction” of Entorphine (M99) back in 2012 there has been quite a large reduction of Rhinos being poached using tranquillizer guns and M99.

Unfortunately the poachers are fighting back. The eyes and and ears of the African skies the Vulture has been targeted viciously by both Rhino and Elephant poachers using cyanide or diclofenac a NSAID anti-inflammatory that is normally used within human and veterinary medicine to reduce skeletal inflammation. Vultures would normally be the first alerting sign to law enforcement on the ground of a dead carcass or seriously injured Rhino that is haemorrhaging profusely.

Have we lost the battle though>? it seems not, nor are we going too. This month has seen more people such as high ranking celebrities and wildlife photographers taking up awareness campaigns or helping to reduce Rhino poaching through whatever means they can. Rhino horn smuggling and selling is transnational and worth millions of dollars, causing the rise in Rhino poaching to only increase throughout the years.

However, in response, in 2012, South African and Vietnamese governments signed a treaty increasing enforcement of hunting bans to deal with Rhino poaching and other conservation issues. The two governments have since been sharing information to clampdown on offenders. Their goal is to disrupt Rhino smuggling transit routes from Africa to Asia.

Celebrities have also played a huge part in Rhino horn awareness, Prince William, David Beckham and Yao Ming teamed up with WildAid to create a series of public service announcements (PSAs), aimed at China and Vietnam, urging people to not support the trading of illegal wildlife. In the first video, the trio focused solely on the ever decreasing population of rhinos due to poaching.

WHEN THE BUYING STOPS THE KILLING CAN TOO!

PLEASE TELL YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS NOT TO BUY RHINO HORN, IVORY OR SHARK FIN!

David Beckham and the Duke of Cambridge Prince William team up to protect our mega fauna;

Back in June Prince William and soccer legend David Beckham teamed up to launch a campaign that aims to protect animals from illegal poaching. The Duke of Cambridge, who is also the president of United For Wildlife, promoted the new hashtag #WhoseSideAreYouOn while flanked by Beckham and other star athletes at Google Town Hall in Central London.

“The illegal wildlife trade is responsible for the slaughter of tens of thousands of animals a year, pushing some of our most beloved species to the brink of extinction,” William said. “Our children should not live in a world without elephants, tigers, lions and rhinos. Enough is enough. It is time to choose between critically endangered species and the criminals who kill them for money.”

The #WhoseSideAreYouOn campaign aims to reach people via Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and You Tube. Supporters will also be urged to participate in or watch United For Wildlife sports events. In anticipation of the launch, William posed alongside his brother Prince Harry for a photo posted to United For Wildlife’s Twitter account. The brothers held a sign that bore the campaign start date of June 9, as well as their royal signatures that can be seen below along with Tennis Champion Andy Murray.

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While there are many celebrities now taking up the fight to protect our critically endangered wildlife species there are also the likes of Hilary O’Leary a Zimbabwean wildlife photographer that has been creating awareness of the Rhino poaching epidemic. Miss O’Leary entered a stunning picture of a baby Rhino calf into the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award back in June 2014. Entered into the Natural History Museum (WPY) Award Hilary O’Leary explains in her own words to Dr Josa Depre what inspired her to enter this particular photograph into the award – The interview can be seen below;

Picture Hilary O’Leary

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An interview with Hilary O’Leary – Hilary O’Leary has entered one of her stills into the Natural History Museum – Wildlife Photography of the Year Award that has since we published seen an unprecedented amount of support from the public voting in their droves. Please scroll down to view the image, click on the picture and please vote.

Josa – When did you become interested in photography?

Hilary O’Leary – I am fortunate to live in a place which has the most magical things to see and about 3 years ago I realized there was so much more to see when you change the way you view things.. I would say my first interested in photography was about 5 months after I started taking wildlife pictures.. when all of a sudden I felt that wonderful feeling of capturing a great
image. Only then could I see the difference between taking pictures and
photography.

Josa – What’s been your most worked on project and what obstacles did you have to overcome in concluding that particular project?

Hilary O’Leary – My photography is purely a hobby and the only project I could assign to have had has been two or three Photography competitions. So no obstacles yet.

Josa – Whom inspired you to become such a professionally outstanding photographer? I state outstanding as I have viewed some of your past work and you have a great eye for detail.

Hilary O’Leary – I would say I know what I like and have admired and recognized styles throughout all Wildlife Photographers work I have witnessed. I would say the feeling you get when you look at some pictures is what inspires me most.

Josa – I can see you have quite a fondness for African Rhino, do you intend on using your work to fund Rhino projects such as anti-poaching or funding orphanages?

Hilary O’Leary – Yes I love Rhino, only when you have a chance to spend time with them to you realize how innocent and gentle they are. I want to help in anyway I can.

Josa – Rhino poaching has for this year drastically overtaken previous records from 2010, 2011 and 2012 with a near 600 Rhinos slaughtered for fake medicine. How does this make you feel knowing that we could soon see the second largest land mammal banished from the face of the earth and do you have any projects to help sustain Rhino preservation?

Hilary O’Leary – The feeling is – desperate. I can’t help but think the next generation will spend all its resources repairing the damage… But I believe we can make a difference and we will win.

Josa – Can you please explain to our readers what inspired you to take this particular photograph and what sentimental value it has to you?

Hilary O’Leary – The picture was quite incidental as I was driving past and saw a scene.. I only saw what I had captured when I downloaded the images… and the message was so strong. I felt it fitted ” a picture says a thousand words” connotation perfectly.

Josa – Environmental News and Media, Speak up for the Voiceless and International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa have been hosting a youth photography group on-line for the past two years. Do you have any advice, skills or information you’d like to provide to our younger readers that are currently actively involved within youth photography and wildlife preservation?

Hilary O’Leary – I can only say the world is in our hands and there are enough of us to make a difference. I love a quote a read in a different context about training but would like to re-use it here in the war against anti-poaching – its like fighting with a lion… you don’t stop when your tired you stop when the lions tired. We all respond to an image and a single flash of one can stay in our minds
forever… capturing the right images keep the moment real forever and that can change lives!

Josa – What camera and exposure did you use to take this photo pictured above and how long did you have to wait to obtain that pure brilliant shot?

Hilary O’Leary – I use Canon, and it was early morning so light was a little low… 1/200, f2.8

Josa – You have entered this particular piece into the wildlife photography of the year award and since we have published this onto our pages and now ENM site it has generated hundreds of votes and many thousands of shares and likes. Will you be planning on furthering your career outside of your home country Zimbabwe and if so what areas do you plan on working on?

Hilary O’Leary – I have not thought about it… will see what opportunities arrive.

Josa – What’s been your proudest moment in life during this career of photography and why?

Hilary O’Leary – Well it would have to be the current situation, a picture that has created such a wonderful, strong response and a message that has been received correctly.

Josa – On viewing your work past and present I can see that a great deal of patience has gone into perfecting that best shot that has won the hearts and minds of many. Can you describe to our readers just how long it takes you to obtain such outstanding stills, the work that goes into obtaining that perfect still, and how many days and nights have you worked on just one single project?

Hilary O’Leary – I think the time has been spent in recognizing, out of the thousands of images I have taken, which one had the special message. Hours of editing, deleting and searching for a great image..

Josa – What’s been your worst downfall within your career of photography?

Hilary O’Leary – Can’t think right now… I hope its not yet to come either!

Josa – Where do you see oneself in ten years time and do you plan on keeping this amazing work up?

Hilary O’Leary – I hope I will have managed to make, support or assist in the changes we are desperate to see. I hope the success can be measured over years and decades to come. . I hope in 10 years we still have the animals that are so critically endangered.

End of interview.

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Hilary O’Leary met this little black Rhino whilst spending time at the Malilangwe Conservation Trust in Zimbabwe. The Rhino’s story, however, is not as sad as it might seem. His mother is alive and they are protected by the trust. This image is part of our first ever People’s Choice Award. Since publishing the Hilary O’Leary’s still via our Facebook, Environmental News and Media sites there has been a whopping amount of public support.

People in their thousands have liked and hundreds more have set about voting too. Please don’t forget to vote by clicking on the photo above or by clicking the link here please remember that the closing date for voting is 5th September 2014. Please share this article and ask your friends and family to vote too. The more awareness created of our endangered species the more support can be generated hopefully securing their future furthermore.

Meanwhile in Zimbabwe it has been alleged that Rhino poaching has decreased and Zimbabwe’s Black Rhinoceros population has increased too. The Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate has revealed that there has been a significant drop in Rhino poaching between 2010 and 2013. The African rhino has continued to attract the world’s attention with fears the species might become extinct due to poaching.

In an effort to raise awareness on the need to protect the Rhino species, the country has carried several awareness campaigns. In a speech read on his behalf during the launch of a 500km Rhino Awareness Walk, Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said 52 Rhino were killed in 2010, but the number went down to 38 in 2011 before further decreasing to 22 in 2012.

In 2013, only 16 Rhino were killed.

The black Rhino population has also been steadily increasing from 429 in 2011 to 457 in 2013. The white Rhino species has also increased from 279 in 2011 to 296 in 2013. A professional guide, Sam Nkomo will carry out a 500 kilometre walk from the Matobo National Park to Victoria Falls from the 14th to the 18th of September in a bid to educate communities on the need to preserve the country’s wildlife.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Karikoga Kaseke pledged $1000 towards Nkomo’s walk and urged the corporate sector to contribute towards wildlife conservation awareness programmes. Rhino are classified as endangered on the red list database of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as their numbers are critically low. Zimbabwe developed a National Rhino Policy and Management Framework for the period 2011 to 2016 in March 2011 in an effort to increase the Black and White Rhino population.

Whilst Rhino poaching has been slowly decreasing in Zimbabwe President Barack Obama United States President has been lobbied by environmentalists to now place sanctions against Mozambique in an effort to curb Rhino and Elephant poaching in other African countries where poaching of both Elephants and Rhino is spiralling out of control. Investigators say substantial evidence exists of Mozambique’s failure to abide by international conventions against wildlife trafficking, including to back up allegations of state complicity.

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While President Obama last year mounted a new initiative by the U.S. government to tackle international wildlife trafficking, with a particular focus on ivory, some say Mozambique’s actions are undermining those efforts – and threatening these species worldwide. A new petition, publicly announced that Wednesday, now provides evidence on the issue and urges the president to make use of legal authorities to encourage Mozambique to crack down on poachers.

“Mozambique continues to play an ever-growing and uncontained role in Rhinoceros and Elephant poaching,” Susie Ellis, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation, one of the petitioners, told IPS.

“Although they have been given direction by the international community to enact certain controls, those have been only superficial and have had no meaningful effect. If you look at the large-scale poaching and illegal trade in Rhino horn and Elephant ivory out of Mozambique, it’s directly undercut President Obama’s [efforts] on wildlife trafficking.”

Increasingly working hand in hand with organised crime, poachers over the past three years have killed record numbers of Elephants and Rhinoceroses, particularly in Africa. Some 50,000 Elephants are being killed each year in Africa, alongside 1,000 Rhinos, leaving perhaps as few as 250,000 Elephants in the wild globally.

Driving this illicit market is increased consumer demand in Asia, particularly in China and Vietnam. According to a U.N. report from last year, large seizures of ivory bound for Asia have more than doubled since 2009. The new petition focuses on the central international agreement around wildlife trafficking, known as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and warns that Mozambique’s outsized role in African ivory poaching is diluting the convention’s effectiveness. The CITES standing committee is meeting next week in Switzerland.

“Available evidence indicates that Mozambican nationals constitute the highest number of foreign arrests for poaching in South Africa. Organized crime syndicates based in Mozambique are driving large scale illegal trade in Rhino horn and Elephant ivory,” the petition states. (Please sign the petition by clicking the link to your left highlighted)….

“Given the scope and depth of the illegal killing and trade in Rhino and Elephant products by Mozambican nationals, we urge the United States to … enact substantial trade sanctions.”

High-level complicity

Supporters say that strong action by the Mozambican authorities would have a significant and immediate impact on the global supply of illicit ivory.

Officials reportedly estimate that 80 to 90 percent of all poachers in South Africa’s massive Kruger National Park are Mozambican nationals. Local groups say that on most nights more than a dozen separate poaching parties can be prowling the park, most from well-documented “poaching villages” located across the border in Mozambique.

Meanwhile, enforcement of wildlife-related legislation in Mozambique is said to be essentially non-existent, with penalties for poaching and trafficking thus far not effective. Yet changing that situation has been complicated by what appears to be state collusion.

“It’s impossible for that level of illegal activity to be going on without high-level complicity,” Allan Thornton, president of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), a watchdog group based here and in London that co-authored the new petition, told IPS.

“We believe that there are ex-military officials who are providing political protection to the [trafficking] syndicates who are arming and funding these poaching teams. There is substantial evidence implicating both the police and military.”

Mozambique keeps strict control over the types of weapons used by the country’s poachers, Thornton notes, yet such weapons are available to the military. Similarly, police and military uniforms have repeatedly been found in poaching camps.

Thornton says that putting together the new petition took several months, due to the mass of evidence available.

“If all Mozambican citizens were prevented from illicitly crossing over the border, poaching would drop significantly. But there has been no enforcement on the Mozambique side, despite legal obligations under CITES,” he says.

“We believe that the Mozambique government should be held accountable for their activities and act rapidly against these poachers, criminal syndicates and those protecting them. They could close this trade literally in a week.

Unparalleled scope

Thornton says his office is not yet clear on whether the Obama administration has exerted diplomatic pressure on the Mozambique government over the issue of wildlife trafficking. But in filing the new petition, these groups are highlighting the fact that the president does indeed have the legal backing to act on the issue.

Under U.S. legislation known as the Pelly Amendment, the president is allowed to impose trade sanctions if a country is certified to be “diminishing the effectiveness” of an international conservation programme. (U.S. officials could not be reached for comment for this story.)

Further, there is notable precedent under which past determinations – set in motion by EIA petitions – have met with particular success. Two decades ago, for instance, a similar petition was lodged around the trafficking of rhinoceros and tiger parts through Taiwan into China.

That effort resulted in U.S. trade sanctions. Over the following two years, both the Taiwanese and Chinese governments engaged in a broad crackdown on these trades.

“This had a huge impact on reducing demand [for ivory] and reducing the poaching of Rhinos virtually around the world,” Thornton says.

“We saw Rhino populations stabilise worldwide, because two of the biggest markets had closed for demand. This is the same thing we’re now looking for in Mozambique.”

He continues: “And we’re hoping for a particularly prompt response, because the scope of illegal activities we’re currently seeing – where one country is sending hundreds of poachers into another country – is almost unparalleled.”

ALL OUT WAR!

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa and many hundred more organisations are desperately trying to reduce the Scrooge of Rhino and Elephant poaching that is considered now a war. This war doesn’t just affect Africans or their wildlife. Black market trade of both ivory and Rhino horn is fuelling the trade in firearms and terrorism abroad and within the continent of Africa of which has to be tackled at top governmental level. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa have been lobbying the United Nations and sent to all (CITES) signatories communications to now support an immediate call for sanctions against Mozambique, Vietnam and China for their failure to reduce both poaching and black market trade. Regardless of what many have stated would actually harm an already impoverished country something has to be done (sanctions must be implemented). While we know poaching and black market trade would decrease sanctions wouldn’t necessarily be spread out over a course of time. So in reality finical harm would be of the lowest. One has to look at it like this. If we lose the Rhino and Elephant, tourism that is a huge money generator would be significantly impacted of which would increase unemployment, crime and anti-social behaviour and leave South Africa that is a modernising country in turmoil financially. We cannot any longer continue to treat the symptoms we have to cure the illness full stop.

Since 2012 the Environmental and Animal Welfare Organisation have sent countless emails and met with a dozen ministers within countries assigned to the (CITES) agreement. Furthermore the Environmental Organisation has been lobbying the United Nations and the British Government to push for sanctions, and to increase military presence from British soldiers not on active service or from the territorial army. Kruger National Park as explained is massive in size and there is simply not enough troops on the ground to fight this war. Training is also needed to now combat the new wave of poachers that are heavily armed and ex-military special forces. South Africa’s ranger units are not equipped or trained in such warfare so training and funding to provide equipment is essential. SNARE the video below was released in 2012 and depicts true real life events, those that comment on Social Media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Myspace do not always grasp just how serious this war is. An insight into a rangers life can be seen in last years video release below.

Rangers in the thick of it;

Since the war on poaching began many African ranger and Anti Poaching Units have come under heavy from psychotic rangers. Poachers have also been actively involved in terrorising farmers and individual security services employed to secure our Rhino species. Wildlife rangers endure similar ordeals to soldiers in combat. They routinely face death, injury, or torture from poachers, and the wild animals they protect can kill them too. In the DRC, which has been riven by almost two decades of civil war and political instability, about 150 rangers have been killed in Virunga alone since 2004.

Rangers are exposed to deeply disturbing scenes, with each poached carcass a frustrating and grisly reminder of failure, and they operate in the bush under harsh physical conditions, often with inadequate equipment, pay, and support. International Animal Rescue Foundation this year began phase II of Funding African Wildlife Survival – Operation Equip. This July IARFA have successfully donated $1,111USD to Fund a Ranger – Save a Rhino and donated a further $100USD to the Virunga National Park of which will see a seven man team in combat for a total of one week. F.A.W.S has proven successful since phase II and has already began its phase III Anti Dog Meat Education Operation focusing attention on Liberia the largest African dog meat eating country on the continent.

“Worldwide, about two rangers are killed every week,” says Sean Willmore, president of the International Ranger Federation and founder of the Thin Green Line Foundation, a charity that trains rangers and supports the widows of those killed in the line of duty. “But that’s only partial data,” he adds. “It could be double that amount.” Should Elephant poaching take off in South Africa of which has seen one Elephant poached for its ivory in the Kruger this year we could very well see more rangers shot dead or fatally wounded. Were dealing with heavily armed, well trained and fearless African poachers that will not stop at nothing, especially when a months wages can be earned in a single day.

However its not all doom and gloom. Whilst we all continue to chip in to help those that require more help than IARFA then this war can be won. Rangers are fighting back harder than before. At the start of the year Eleven suspected poachers were killed alone in the flagship national park by SA National Parks (SANParks) rangers and members of the SA Defence Force. Most of the gun battles happened at night after poaching gangs crossed the border from Mozambique. The killing to some may be seen as a godsend however is unfortunately not stopping the bandits from continuing to enter the parks.

Poachers operate in groups of four to six. They are aggressive and engage and shoot at the rangers on sight, creating a daily, life-threatening situation. SANParks said in a statement it was “appealing to the South African public to support efforts by rangers to stop the mass killing on both sides.

Concluding;

International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa has been actively involved in helping to reduce poaching in many ways. Investigating corrupt professional hunters then passing the evidence on, engaging small Rhino ranches pushing funding and equipment to staff on the ground that have literally nothing to defend themselves. Lobbying (CITES) signatories, the United Nations and British Government to now impose and support an immediate temporary sanctions against Mozambique, Vietnam and China. Furthermore we are supporting a no trade in Rhino horn and are venomously pushing and succeeding to now ban Rhino hunting across Africa where Rhino populations are still extant. When the demand stops the poaching will too.

Thank you for reading and please do not forget to vote for Hilary O’Leary Wildlife Photographer.

Dr Josa C. Depre

www.speakupforthevoiceless.org

Chief Environmental Officer

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