× Digital News Videos Health & Science Opinion Education Columnists Lifestyle Cartoons Moi Cabinets Kibaki Cabinets Arts & Culture Podcasts E-Paper Tributes Lifestyle & Entertainment Nairobian Entertainment Eve Woman TV Stations KTN Home KTN News BTV KTN Farmers TV Radio Stations Radio Maisha Spice FM Vybez Radio Enterprise VAS E-Learning Digger Classified Jobs Games Crosswords Sudoku The Standard Group Corporate Contact Us Rate Card Vacancies DCX O.M Portal Corporate Email RMS
×
Watch The Tokyo Olympics 2020 live online

Rhino poachers back after South Africa eases lockdown restrictions

AFRICA
By Reuters | May 3rd 2021
South Africa began easing international travel restrictions in November. [Reuters]

Rhino Poaching is on the rise again in South Africa since the government loosened Coronavirus restrictions, following a year-long lull due to the pandemic, wildlife parks say.

The strict limits on travel, including international travel, imposed in March last year had the happy side effect of keeping poachers at bay. In 2020, 394 rhinos were poached, 30 per cent fewer than the year before and the lowest yearly tally since 2011.

But then South Africa began easing international travel restrictions in November.

"Since November, December last year and into 2021, this landscape and particularly Kruger National Park has been experiencing serious numbers of rhino poaching incidents,” said Jo Shaw, the Africa Rhino Lead for WWF International Network.

Some reserves use dehorning as one of the methods to prevent armed poachers from taking advantage of easier cross-border travel. [Reuters]

She declined to say how many incidents had occurred.

"There is a very real and realised threat as poaching pressure has increased since lockdown perhaps to meet the demand from the international markets," she said.

Rhino poaching often involves both local poachers and international criminal syndicates that smuggle the high-value commodity across borders, often to Asia where demand is high.

Their methods are cruel: The rhinos are usually shot with a tranquillizer gun before the horn is hacked off, resulting in the animal being left to bleed to death.

Reserves, which have been battling tighter budgets amid a coronavirus-induced lull in tourism, have also been forced to cut back on anti-poaching patrols, compounding the threat to rhinos. 

 Some reserves use dehorning as one of the methods to prevent armed poachers from taking advantage of easier cross-border travel.

Rhino poaching often involves both local poachers and international criminal syndicates that smuggle the high-value commodity across borders, often to Asia where demand is high. [Reuters]

Veterinarians cut the horn at the stub, rather than removing it all, which prevents the rhino from bleeding to death. Balule Nature Reserve, located in the greater Kruger system has de-horned 100 rhinos since April 2019.

The country's environmental ministry is expected to release its 2021 half-year poaching figures at the end of June.

"As [lockdown] restrictions over time have become less, there has been an uptick in poaching as a result," said Julian Rademeyer, director of the organised crime observatory for East and Southern Africa at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime.

South Africa has about 16,000 rhinos located within its borders, Frances Craigie, chief director of enforcement at the environmental ministry told Reuters.

But relentless poaching and drought in the North-East region has hit the rhino population hard. In the Kruger National Park, the number of rhinos has plummeted almost more than two thirds in the last decade to around 3,800 in 2019 from 11,800 rhinos in 2008, a South African National Parks report showed.

Covid 19 Time Series

 

Share this story
Daddy's Girl: Journey on being raised by single father
He says she will tell her own story. He wants to tell his, and that of his daughter.
Why Kenyan boxers are winning medals once again
The BFK led by President Anthony ‘Jamal’ Ombok was elected into the office in 2019 and has since...

.
RECOMMENDED NEWS

Feedback