I was just in South Africa shooting an awareness campaign about the shocking rhino crisis that is gripping South Africa.
If you are like most people you are blissfully unaware that there is a rhino massacre going on in South Africa.
WHY RHINO’S? Well the demand for rhino horn in South East Asian countries like China, Vietnam and Laos has reached an unprecedented level. They believe the horn will cure everything from Cancer to AIDS and even hangovers and impotency. There is no proof whatsoever that rhino horn will cure anything. The rhino horn is made up of the same protein that human finger & toe nails are made of keratin. Scientists state that there is zero benefit for humans ingesting rhino horn.
A global ban on trading in rhino horn has been in place since 1982. But the demand for rhino horn has gotten so out of hand that the price of horn on the black-market is now more that gold, platinum and even cocaine. Fetching between $1M to $2M per horn!
So who’s doing the killing? Mainly Mozambican nationals who are being funded by Chinese and Vietnamese criminal syndicates. However due to the massive amounts of money these horns are fetching all major organized crime networks are getting involved. The Cezch Republic, Russian, Irish and even the Italian mob are all now involved. These syndicates will equip poachers with night vision goggles, AK47’s and even M99, a highly potent rhino tranquilizer. M99 is only available to licensed vets.
Dr Jana Pretorius is a wildlife vet in South Africa, I was with her for 1 week to witness what she does on a day to day basis. The sad state of affairs is that her main job now is to relocate rhino’s as land owners simply can’t afford the security costs of safe guarding these animals.
First she prepares her dart gun, then gets into a helicopter to tranquilize the animal, then they must maneuver the rhino into a crate then its transported to a security stronghold holding-pen facility
With an estimated 15,000 rhino left on the planet and 668 killed in 2012, this year in 2013 we are on target for a 1,200 poached year! The numbers are just ramping up too fast for these animals to survive.
Having been on the ground, I chatted with Government officials, land owners, vets, security specialists and even conservationist. They all seem to say the same thing. STOP THE DEMAND AND THE KILLING WILL STOP. But corruption if rife and back-handers are the norm. Please support the cause to educate the world about the needless and senseless killing.
With 80% of the worlds rhino population residing in South Africa. The rhino is on the brink, if we don’t do something soon this beautiful inquisitive animal will not survive. Best guesses are that we have 5 to 7 years left before they become extinct… Then whats next? The Elephants? The Lions? Poachers will not stop unless the demand dry’s up.