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Helicopters versus drones: The cost of the war on rhinos... Using military-grade helicopters, night-vision equipment and guns fitted with stealth silencers, organized crime syndicates are taking rhino poaching to a whole new level and conservation parks are struggling to keep up. Sabi Sand — South Africa’s oldest private game reserve — is now spending half of its annual maintenance budget on security to protect the endangered rhino. Sabi Sand conservationist Andrew Parker told CNN that defense costs could become “unaffordable.” There’s no question we’re fighting a counter insurgency war here....
Interpol advises on rhino poaching... Johannesburg – Countries across Africa need to work together to combat rhino poaching, says the International Police Organization (Interpol). The body also stressed that it is only through the exchange of information that the scourge can be eradicated. The United National Environmental Program (UNEP) and Interpol are assisting member countries in Africa to come up with innovative policing strategies to combat environmental crime which Interpol says is now one of the most profitable forms of organized crime. The illegal ivory...
Latest Stats The poaching statistics released this week is painting a very dark picture for the future of the Rhino in South...
Rhino deaths – 14 in 24 hours... 17th May 2013 Dave Sheppard Wildlife Foundation.   Fourteen rhino have been killed in a space of 24 hours bringing the tally of rhino killed for their horn to 327 in South Africa since January.   The tally includes seven rhinos that had already been dehorned but were killed for their stumps in the Machadadorp area, five were adults, two calves; two in the Thabazimbi area and two in the Vaalwater area.   Dehorning rhino has been seen as...

Conservation group backs killing rare rhino for cash...

Can it ever be right to auction a licence to shoot a seriously endangered animal like the black rhino? The Dallas Safari Club, a hunters’ group based in Texas, did just that last weekend, despite protests from animal rights activists. New Scientist has learned that the club had backing from world’s largest association of conservation scientists, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The IUCN says the killing could increase rhino reproduction in the herd. Late last year, two specialist IUCN groups wrote letters endorsing the licence to shoot an old male black rhino in Namibia. With numbers 90 per cent lower than three generations ago, the IUCN classifies the black rhino (Diceros bicornis) as “critically endangered”. One sub-species, the western black rhino (Diceros bicornis longipipes) was officially declared extinct in 2011. So why allow the killing of another? One reason is to raise money to save other rhinos. Rosie Cooney of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, who chairs IUCN’s sustainable use and livelihoods specialist group, wrote that “trophy hunting… is an effective means to raise much-needed money for rhino conservation”. The $350,000 the anonymous bidder paid for the shooting licence will go into a rhino account run by the government’s Namibian Game Products Trust Fund, which channels income from wildlife use, including tourism and hunting licences, into anti-poaching patrols. Dangerous male More controversially, the IUCN also claims that the death of this particular rhino could actually boost the growth of the wider population, including metapopulations, geographically separated groups of animals within the same species that still have the opportunity to interact. The winner of the Dallas auction is licensed to kill a specific old male that is no longer fertile and has been expelled by its fellows from Etosha National Park. “While it appears counter-intuitive, the removal of the odd surplus male… can actually enhance overall metapopulation growth rates and further genetic conservation,” wrote Mike Knight of South African National Parks, who chairs IUCN’s rhino specialist group. Knight says such rogue animals get in fights and kill others, including breeding females and calves. Moreover, “female reproductive performance significantly improves as the ratio of adult males to adult females declines, resulting in faster growing populations”. Removing a bull that used to dominate breeding in the herd will also reduce the risk of inbreeding. Not all conservationists agree. Susie Ellis, director of the International Rhino Foundation in Strasburg, Virginia, says the disruptive effect of old males is overstated. “This auction takes attention away from the real issue – that nearly a thousand rhinos were poached last year alone in South Africa.” Conservation by trophy Wild black rhinos all live...

Fury as rhino-hunting permit sold

  Reuters | 13 January, 2014 00:02 A permit to hunt a black rhino in Namibia was auctioned for $350000 in Dallas, in the US, at the weekend.File photo Image by: Vassil/ Wikipedia. A permit to hunt a black rhino in Namibia was auctioned for $350000 in Dallas, in the US, at the weekend. The proceeds of the sale will be used to protect the endangered animals, despite protests from animal rights groups that saw the sale as immoral pseudo-conservation. The licence allows for the killing of a single, post-breeding bull, with Namibian wildlife officials on hand for the hunt to make sure an “appropriate” animal is selected. The Dallas Safari Club had been expecting the permit to bring $250000 to $1-million at the auction. The hunt will provide the Namibian government with hard cash in the expensive battle to thwart poachers, it said. “Biologists in Namibia were hoping that a US auction would produce a record amount for rhino conservation, and that’s exactly what happened,” said club executive director Ben Carter. “These bulls no longer contribute to the growth of the population and are in a lot of ways detrimental to the growth of the population because black rhino are very aggressive and territorial.” More than 75000 people signed an online petition at www.causes.com to stop the sale . There are about 25000 rhino in Africa – 20000 white and 5000 black – with most in South Africa. Namibia, with 1750 rhino, is one of the leading habitats . Both countries allow for a few, carefully regulated hunts under internationally approved guidelines each year. Rhino protection has grown more expensive because of a surge in poaching by crime syndicates to feed demand in places such as Vietnam, where horn is used as a traditional medicine and sold at prices higher than those of gold. Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the US, said the group objected to trophy hunting and believed it was immoral to raise cash for conservation by selling permits to kill endangered species. Last year 950 rhino were killed by poachers in South Africa. In Namibia, only 10 animals have been killed since 2006, according to Tom Milliken, leader of the elephant and rhino programme for the international wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC. http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2014/01/13/fury-as-rhino-hunting-permit-sold...

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