NAME: Keith Connelly
DIARY ENTRIES: 5
PHOTOS UPLOADED: 485
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CURRENT COMPANY: Motswari
RHINO POACHING!!......... the two words have the become an expletive of the worst kind the most terrible swear word, a cuss that sadly in 2011 gets used each and every day!
As I type this we have to date lost 279 Rhinos in SA this year, this on the back of the 333 lost in 2010. There is huge public outcry, publicity, public sympathy and disgust but the carnage continues unabated and intensifies daily as was witnessed in the Western Cape last weekend and sadly even today in Limpopo!!!
I want to write about this from the eyes and ears of guides like myself across reserves in SA and elsewhere in Africa. We sit in a situation as guides where the topic of poaching comes up (rightfully so) on every single drive, walk or fireside chat! As a guide it’s a heartbreaking scenario to be discussing the brutality and nonsensical wholesale slaughter of these placid 30 million year old animals while sitting enjoying sightings of these ever dwindling rhino instead of discussing the majesty of them.
As a guide I do see it as my responsibility to address these issues and bring the matter and its facts to the attention of our visitors.The facts such as the utter insanity of the beliefs in the falsified medicinal purpose and that is has gone way beyond the stereotypically ridiculous aphrodisiac properties of the Rhino’s keratin based horn.
How can we fight this pandemic when countries political leaders such as Vietnam’s are claiming its cancer curing properties? A point also worth being emphasised is that the demand is not only coming from a single source but many Asian countries....China only being one of them. The Rhino’s current peril being brought on by the new economic affluence of their previously poverty ridden populations.
We all know the current facts of the organised crime involvement and the involvement of vets and more recently and very sadly the involvement of rangers. With Rhino horn currently fetching $60 000.00 US per kilogram maybe the old saying should be changed from absolute power corrupts absolutely to...money & greed corrupt absolutely.
Where is our government in all of this?......what is being done? Where is C.I.T.E.S (The Convention for the International Trade in Endangered Species)?
Realistically the solution to the Rhino disaster can surely only be a political one! As was the case with the Elephant slaughter it was only brought under some form of control by the outright ban in ivory trade in 1989 by C.I.T.E.S.
Surely sometime somewhere there would need to be a debate on the possible solution to this devastating problem. The two schools of thought being...A sustainable trade in Rhino horn as a possible solution or will it lead to the exploitation of the horn by unscrupulous people or even worse governments or will a outright ban solve and regulate this problem. The current hunting permit situation relating to the legal hunting of Rhino’s is an outrageous farce as has been witnessed with the recent arrests of some pretty despicable individuals.
As you can see all we seem to be left with is question after question!
There may be this perception that this sort of utter ruthless annihilation of animals of this kind to be fairly new we may think that this sort of thing can be compared to the near decimation of Elephants in the 60’s,70’s,80’s....sadly even that was not the beginning. In fact as the human race we can go back as far as 300BC where Arab traders spurred on by the advent of the slave trade were responsible for the brutal killing untold numbers of Elephants and other animals. Since then many many more..tens of millions have died at the hands of the “INTELLEGENT APE” all of the seemingly mindless killing brought about to feed our incessant GREED!!
Greed being at the forefront of what is fuelling the current poaching lunacy...the question must surely be asked as a species do we really consider ourselves civilised?
We have applauded ourselves on how far we have come since 300BC, the progress we have made as a species, but have we progressed at all because from my angle it seems to me.....