Rhino Killed in Limpopo: Second in South Africa for 2011


South Africa loses its second rhino of 2011.

A rhino has reportedly been killed in Limpopo Province, South Africa. This is unfortunately the second rhino murdered in the country during the first week of 2011.

The killing occurred near Musina.

Earlier this week, Nepal also lost one of its greater one-horned rhinos to the illegal rhino horn trade.

Due to the thriving illegal rhino horn trade, at least 310 rhinos were brutally slaughtered last year in South Africa.

Continued use of illegal rhino horn in traditional ‘medicines’

Illegal rhino horn is in highly sought after for use in traditional medicines in China and Vietnam, despite the fact rhino horn has been extensively analyzed and contains no medicinal properties.

Research conducted by the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC found that most rhino horns leaving Southern Africa are being smuggled to China and Vietnam.

It has also been noted that the spreading Chinese footprint in Southern Africa has placed the demand for rhino horn perilously close to the supply, and counter poaching reports have linked the increase in rhino and elephant killings to a flood of Chinese weapons in the region.

Abuse of CITES research loopholes

There are further concerns that state-funded rhino horn use proposals from China served as one of several catalysts for the surge in rhino killings across Southern Africa.

Such proposals, which surfaced in 2008 and 2009, encourage the use of rhino horn, and strongly suggest the PRC government is attempting to circumvent CITES research provisions by blurring the lines between research and commercial trade in rhinos.

‘Insiders’ involved in illegal rhino horn trade

The continued killing on African soil points to “insiders” from within the South African conservation community, who are apparently operating with unrestrained greed and cruelty, hoping to cash in on the ignorance and myths surrounding the use of rhino horn.

There is an in-depth look at this disturbing topic at Are ‘Insiders’ Intentionally Fueling Demand for Illegal Rhino Horn?, which notes that nefarious business alliances, private stockpile leakage, dehorning scams, and legalized trade speculation are exacerbating South Africa’s rhino crisis.

Current system of ‘bail and release’ not a deterrent

It is also believed that the South African courts are a weak link in the battle to protect the country’s rhinos.

Despite diligent intelligence work and the subsequent arrests of 147 people in 2010, the South African courts have repeatedly granted affordable bail amounts as “punishment” for rhino-related crimes, rather than administer serious deterrents.

Source: “Concern as rhino poaching continues.” Eyewitness News. 06 December 2011

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, an educational nonprofit organization which provides news and information about wildlife crime and endangered species. I am the Editor of Rhino Horn is Not Medicine and Project Pangolin, author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine, a writer for the environmental news blog Planetsave, the host of Behind the Schemes, and Producer for the upcoming documentary The Price. When I'm not blogging about the illegal wildlife trade, I enjoy gardening, reading, designing, and rocking out to live music.

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  1. Samantha Bradley

    This is disgusting. Not a very good start to the year having 2 rhinos killed.

    Seriously poaching has got to stop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!