The rhino killing spree in South Africa continues.
A helicopter search of the area also discovered two female rhinos that had been shot, but they were still alive. However, one of the cows is badly injured, and likely to be put down.
The male rhino found on Saturday was a breeding bull, worth R1 million.
Courts fail to deter rhino horn syndicates
Although police continue to make arrests – four rhino killers were arrested two days ago – rhino horn syndicate cases lose steam once they hit the courts. There seems to be plenty of talk about cracking down on syndicates and taking out the kingpins, but so far, the courts have jailed only the lower level operatives.
In September, eleven alleged members of a rhino horn syndicate were granted bail by the Musina magistrate’s court and are scheduled to appear in court again on April 11th, 2011. The suspects included safari operator Dawie Groenewald, veterinarians Karel Toet and Manie du Plessis, and professional hunter Tielman Erasmus.
They will face charges of to face charges of assault, fraud, corruption, malicious damage to property, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, and contravening the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act.
The following month, a rhino horn syndicate case involving suspects George Fletcher of Sandurst Safaris, Gert Saaiman of Saaiman Hunting Safaris, and Frans Deventer was thrown out by the North Gauteng High Court.
Multiple charges had been brought against Fletcher, Saaiman and van Deventer, including racketeering, money laundering, various counts of theft, malicious damage to property and contraventions of the various provincial Conservation Acts and the Aviation Act.
However, a few weeks ago, four Zimbabweans and a Mozambican were sentenced to prison for attempting to kill rhinos in Lephalale Game Reserve, Limpopo.
Illegal rhino horn trade driven by continued use of traditional ‘medicines’
In this year alone, the surge in rhino horn demand for use in traditional medicines has claimed the lives of more than 235 rhinos in South Africa; some estimates place the figure closer to 270.
It has been noted that the spreading Chinese footprint has placed the demand for rhino horn perilously close to the supply, and counter poaching reports have also linked the increase in rhino and elephant killings to a flood of Chinese weapons in Southern Africa.
Source: Times Live. Sapa. “Two NWest Rhino Poached, Two Wounded – Times LIVE.” 14 Nov. 2010.
Image: Wikimedia Commons