South Africa loses its second rhino 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’
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