Re: Rhino Poaching 2017

Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:57 pm

OSCAP Facebook :Two suspects, allegedly members of a heavily-armed gang that beat up security guards and workers at a Zululand rhino orphanage before killing two rhino calves on Monday night, have been arrested.
Police spokesman, Brigadier Vish Naidoo, said they were nabbed by members of the Ermelo SAPS Canine Unit near Ermelo, Mpumalanga, at about 6pm on Tuesday.
A heavy-calibre hunting rifle and several rounds of ammunition was found in the suspect’s vehicle, a white Toyota double-cab Reg: YCV 797 NW, he said.
The suspects, aged 37 and 34, are said to be known rhino poachers from a notorious gang operating as far away as Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park. Police expect to make more arrests within the next 24 hours.
The two suspects will appear in the Nthambanana Magistrates Court on Friday.

Re: Rhino Poaching 2017

Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:36 pm

Baby rhinos poached at sanctuary – a multimedia aftermath
Videos and photos tell the story of what happened. Will government fight back?
6 hours ago

MBOMBELA – One of the most carefully planned and brutally executed poaching incidents in South Africa’s history has shaken the country to its core. On Monday night five armed men not only killed two rhino calves at Thula Thula care centre in KwaZulu-Natal, but also assaulted and sexually violated Swedish volunteers.
Activists have called it a turning point in the war on poaching.
“Will the government finally take action?” is the question.

“Will they finally take a stand against these heinous crimes?” asked Ms Karen Trendler, who runs Findimvelo Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage.



The sanctuary is a safe haven for orphaned baby rhinos whose parents have been poached. It borders the Thula Thula game reserve in KwaZulu-Natal.

Here, Trendler vowed to keep the rhinos safe from harm.



Trendler and Col Cobus Barnard from the police’s Rhino Ops 7 spoke about Monday night’s attack.

“Three volunteers were working their caretaking shift when five men gained access to sanctuary,” said Barnard.

It is not clear how they did this, but he confirmed that a security guard was robbed of his pistol as they approached their targets – two rhino calves with horns which had not yet grown 20 centimetres in length.

“The gang then poached and killed Gugu and slaughtered Impi. They inflicted deep, gashing wounds to the animals’ faces. Impi was badly injured and suffered pain until he was euthanised,” said Trendler.

One female volunteer was sexually violated. She and two others were also assaulted.

“This endured for between an hour and an hour and a half,” said Barnard.

“We beefed up security after it happened,” Trendler said.

Would dehorning the baby rhinos have prevented the tragedy? Did insiders organise the poaching?

What struck Trendler was the fact that rhino orphans, Gugu and Impi, were scheduled to be relocated to the wild within a week.
“This was a well-organised criminal operation, presumably done by outsiders who had insider information,” she said.

The sanctuary’s security was beefed up after Monday’s incident.

Police arrested two suspects in connection with the crimes on Tuesday. At the time of going to press the two suspects had not yet appeared in court.

This has never happened before.

According to Trendler, civilians have never before been injured in poaching incidents at sanctuaries.

A volunteer and a rhino at the centre. Volunteers also fell victim to Monday’s attack. (Photo: Facebook)

“Poachers used to take the horns, but leave the people out of it if they stayed out of the way,” she said. Yet Thula Thula’s caretakers were targeted. “Our security was clearly not adequate. We’ll have to change our approach,” she said.


“Will the government finally stop fiddling and playing politics while our species are becoming extinct?” asked SANWild founder, Ms Louise Joubert.

Ms Louise Joubert.

She called the incident a turning point in the war on poaching.

Only three poaching incidents have ever been reported at sanctuaries. According to Joubert, this incindent “proved how violent and savage rhino killings have become”.

She claimed that the government is not doing enough to curb the poaching pandemic. “When it comes to rhino-horn trading, they seem neither here nor there.”

South Africa is a member of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora). The body governs international wildlife trade and banned international trade in 1977. In 2009 the government imposed a moratorium on domestic trade.

In May 2016 the ban was lifted in the Pretoria High Court. The Department of Environmental Affairs appealed the lifting of the ban and lost. The Constitutional Court will now adjudicate the matter. The moratorium remains in place until then.

Joubert finds it unacceptable that the government is not pulling out all the stops to eradicate the problem, especially since South Africa hosts the largest white rhino population in the world. “In 2010 when we hosted the World Cup, 56 instant-justice courts were established and run throughout the country to curb crime. We now face a severe crisis. Why are we not reacting with the same intensity?” she asked.

“If we could do it then, we must do it now. We need specialist courts with specialist prosecutors and judges,” she said.

In 2014, poachers targeted a Lowveld sanctuary

On August 7 that year Sabi was poached at Care For Wild Africa. Sabi was recovering at the centre after having survived his mother’s poaching. It was reported that the traumatised sub-adult rhino was found guarding her poached carcass in Sabi Sands.

The heartbreaking site of an orphaned rhino calf that wouldn’t leave its mother’s side. (Stock image.)

His stump and front legs were butchered from his carcass with a saw. “When that happened, we increased our security. You can never be too careful,” said the sanctuary’s Petronel Nieuwoudt, who extended her condolences to those affected by the incident at Thula Thula.

Read: Sabi’s alleged poachers arrested



Five men were arrested in connection with the poaching of Sabi. Messrs Thokozane Jabulane Ngwenya, Kenneth Alex Mthombothi, Promise Mandla Lamula, Mthobisi Lenox Ngwenyama and Russel Mokoena will appear in Skukuza Magistrate’s Court on May 16.


Joubert insists that expertise is needed in the war on poaching.

This is currently the status quo in the KNP and the broader Lowveld area. The military, the police, SANParks and environmental crime units secure and investigate scenes with the latest available technology.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has established a satellite office from which two specialist prosecutors tackle rhino-poaching cases in the Graskop, Skukuza, Lydenburg, Mhala, Nelspruit and Bushbuckridge courts.



“We need the highest level of expertise. People who can link poaching scenes and eliminate key role players,” said Joubert.
She suggests that no poaching suspect should be granted bail and that a minimum sentence of 25 years should apply to poaching. “I don’t care if it is unconstitutional. Rhino poachers do not adhere to the Constitution and, in doing so, curb the rest of our rights,” she said.

Unless otherwise indicated, videos and photos have been sourced from the Facebook pages of journalist Bonné de Bod and Thula Thula.

Visit Bonné de Bod’s Facebook page.

Visit Thula Thula’s Facebook page.

http://lowvelder.co.za/376338/baby-rhin ... aftermath/

Re: Rhino Poaching 2017

Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:44 pm

This is a new thing, as said in the article. Personally I think volunteers should leave the sanctuaries, and rightly so.

Re: Rhino Poaching 2017

Wed Mar 01, 2017 7:44 pm

Rhino poaching figures look better but we are still losing three rhinos a day
Is the declining rhino poaching statistics for 2016 a real reversal in the fortunes of South Africa’s rhino population?
2 days ago


PRETORIA – The 2016 statistics released by the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, yesterday indicate a decline in the number of rhino poached, both for the country as a whole and for the Kruger National Park (KNP).



According to the 2016 poaching figures released, over 1 000 or the equivalent of three rhinos a day however continue to be lost to poaching and smuggling syndicates.

A total of 1054 rhino were poached in 2016 compared to 1175 in the same period for 2015, a decline of 10.3 per cent.

In the KNP, a total of 662 rhino carcasses were found in 2016 compared to 826 in 2015. This represent a reduction of 19,85 per cent in 2016.

Ms Andrea Weiss, spokesperson for the World Wide Fund for Nature of South Africa (WWF) said that while it is reassuring to the WWF that the rhino poaching statistics for 2016 show there has been a continued decline in the number of animals that have been illegally killed in South Africa over the last two years, it would be premature to regard this as a reversal in the fortunes for South Africa’s rhino population.

She said the reported reduction of nearly 20% in the number of rhino carcasses found in KNP is applauded by the WWF in the face of the increased number of illegal incursions into the park.

“We note that criminal syndicates have shifted their focus in response to these law enforcement actions, and the impacts of poaching have swept across South Africa,” said Weiss.

She emphasised that whilst the WWF find it is to be commended that the focussed efforts of the SAPS show an increase in arrests, the rate of successful prosecutions still remains to be seen.

Ms Allison Thomson of the anti-poaching lobbying and activist group, Outraged South African Citizens against Poaching (OSCAP), said to Lowvelder that the slight decrease in poaching for 2016 is not significant enough to warrant a fanfare.

“The population size is a 1000 smaller than it was last year and so the percentage of the population that has been poached is what needs to be analysed more carefully.”

Several roleplayers have pointed out that statistics should also be given as a percentage of population to demonstrate the full impact of the situation. This will make it clear that the numbers may have fallen because there are less rhino to poach.

Looking at these figures for the KNP the picture is less rosy.

KNP Sensus statistics for 2015 of rhino numbers in the park are between 8365 to 9337. If the amount poached were 826, 826 as a percentage of 8365 is 9.87 per cent and 826 as a percentage of 9337 is 8.85 per cent.

This means in 2015 an average of 9 per cent of rhinos in the KNP were poached.

KNP sensus statistics for 2016 of rhino numbers are 6649 to 7830 rhinos. If the number poached were 662, 662 as a percentage of 6649 is 9.96 per cent and 662 as a percentage of 7830 is 8.45 per cent.

This again means an average of 9 per cent of rhinos in the KNP were poached.

Thomson also had a few other concerns. “We are not winning this war as the drop in poaching in KNP has just meant that other provinces have become targets. KZN is a prime example of an area experiencing significantly more poaching in 2016,”said Thomson.

Minister Molewa also pointed out that the DEA’s multi-sectoral, interdisciplinary approach involving role players like SAPS, the Hawks and the SANDF delivered “satisfying results.”

Watch members of SAPS being trained to do CSI on a rhino carcass

Lt Col Piet Paxton of the Operational Communication Joint Operational Headquarters of the SANDF said to Lowvelder that even though the SANDF role in the KNP is that of support, the SANDF team added to the success of the KNP anti-poaching team especially since September 2016 when a game plan was introduced which concentrated on intelligence-led operations.

“We have been working smarter and more strategic since September. We are doing these intelligence gathering operations in areas that used to be poacher friendly. By doing this we were able to give more definite information to patrols and we could use more observation and listening posts. We are thus deploying our supporting troops in a far better way,”said Paxton.

William Mabasa, acting head of communications of SANParks, said that the poaching numbers have been levelling out since 2014.

“We have turned a corner and the statistics are showing that our strategies which we are constantly implementing, are bearing fruit,” said Mabasa.

KNP’s head ranger, Mr Ken Maggs, explains why the KNP is now more successful in its anti-poaching strategies


http://lowvelder.co.za/376918/antipoach ... hinos-day/

Re: Rhino Poaching 2017

Wed Mar 01, 2017 7:54 pm

“The population size is a 1000 smaller than it was last year and so the percentage of the population that has been poached is what needs to be analysed more carefully.”

Several roleplayers have pointed out that statistics should also be given as a percentage of population to demonstrate the full impact of the situation. This will make it clear that the numbers may have fallen because there are less rhino to poach.

Looking at these figures for the KNP the picture is less rosy.

KNP Sensus statistics for 2015 of rhino numbers in the park are between 8365 to 9337. If the amount poached were 826, 826 as a percentage of 8365 is 9.87 per cent and 826 as a percentage of 9337 is 8.85 per cent.


Allison is entirely correct here, and the impact on breeding is now significant. Kruger has admitted in the past that breeding vs mortalities had reached each other, so the population could be decreasing faster than we think. There is also no reliable census until the often-promised and paid for full aerial census takes place.

Remember, they breed relatively slowly, especially when territorial bulls are killed.


The drought has had virtually no impact, IMO. Nobody saw any rhino significantly weakened, they are resilient in that respect.

Re: Rhino Poaching 2017

Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:15 pm

OSCAP Facebook :

In the last 24 hours 8 rhinos have been poached and that does not include what is happening in Kruger or KZN which are also hot spots! !!

EDIT : Plus 4 more now reported 2 of which are unverified =12 O/

Re: Rhino Poaching 2017

Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:57 pm

The locusts are in full swing. Only option is cutting off at source demand and legalising, IMO. There is nothing else left.

Re: Rhino Poaching 2017

Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:12 am

13 RHINO POACHED IN THE LAST 24 HOURS!!!!!

Re: Rhino Poaching 2017

Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:41 am

O/ O/