World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Rhino poaching statistics highlight need for action

The South African government today revealed that a record 1004 rhinos were killed by poachers during 2013 across the country, the equivalent of nearly three animals a day. World famous safari destination Kruger National Park continues to be the hardest hit with 606 rhino deaths.

“These criminal networks are threatening our national security and damaging our economy by frightening away tourists,” said Dr Jo Shaw, Rhino Programme Manager for WWF-South Africa. “Rhino poaching and rhino horn trafficking are not simply environmental issues, they represent threats to the very fabric of our society.”

The annual poaching figure is a sharp increase from the 668 rhinos lost in 2012, and brings South Africa’s rhino populations closer to a critical tipping point when deaths will begin to outnumber births driving the animals into a dangerous decline. The country is home to about 80 per cent of Africa’s rhinos, 37 of which have already been killed in the first weeks of 2014.

Rhino horns are smuggled by organized international criminal syndicates to Asia, principally Viet Nam, where they are primarily used as a status symbol and purported health tonic.

In late December 2012, South Africa signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Viet Nam on tackling wildlife trafficking and the two nations later developed a joint rhino action plan. South Africa has since signed a similar agreement with China, and is developing others with Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Hong Kong.

“The bottom line is South Africa’s rhinos are up against the wall, facing a genuine crisis and agreements like these have to translate into meaningful action on the ground,” Shaw said.

Later this month Viet Nam must report on its progress in making seizures, arrests, prosecutions and convictions related to rhino horn trafficking. The country has also been instructed to develop and implement measures to reduce consumer demand for rhino horn.

Similarly, Mozambique, a top transit point for horn exiting Africa, must show the enactment and implementation of legislation with deterrent penalties to combat wildlife crime and stop the killing of rhinos and trafficking of their horns.

There are also a number of steps South Africa needs to take to make a tangible difference, said Shaw.

“It would be encouraging to see more significant arrests higher up the trade chain, and to see current arrests resulting in convictions with strong sentences which will effectively deter this criminal activity. More significant action to root out corruption would also be welcome,” she said.

Next month world leaders will meet in London for a conference on wildlife crime convened by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, and attended by Princes Charles and William. Heads of state and foreign ministers from around 50 countries are expected to attend. The conference aims to produce a declaration of political commitment to ensure a coordinated global response to illegal wildlife trade through improving law enforcement and the role of the criminal justice system; reducing demand for illegal wildlife products; and supporting the development of sustainable alternative livelihoods.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ban Condemns Killing Of Former Lesotho Military Commander

United Nations Secretary-General today condemned the killing of Lt. Gen. Maaparankoe Mahao, former Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, on 25 June, near Maseru. More>>

Ban Welcomes US Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

Ban welcomes US Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing right to same-sex marriage Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) pride march. Photo: OHCHR/Joseph Smida More>>

UN Agency Welcomes EU Measures On Refugee Arrivals

Afghan refugees in front of the abandoned hotel Captain Elias on Kos Island, Greece, where hundreds of refugees and migrants are waiting for their registration. Photo: UNHCR/J. Akkash More>>

Increase In Voluntary Blood Donors Can Save Millions Of Lives

Increase in voluntary blood donors can save millions of lives, UN health agency says on World Day More>>

Kenya: Funding Shortage Means Food Cut To 500,000 Refugees

Funding shortage forces UN agency to temporarily cut food aid to 500,000 refugees in Kenya More>>

UN Launches Education Appeal In Fight Against Child Labour

12 June 2015 – The United Nations has announced it is marking the 2015 edition of the World Day Against Child Labour with a call for the international community to invest in quality education as a key step in the fight against child employment ... More>>

Pope Francis & UN Agency On Sustainability Of Agriculture

Pope Francis (centre) with delegates to the 39th FAO Conference during a special audience at the Vatican. Photo: FAO More>>

South Sudan: Call For De-Escalation Of In-Country Conflict

Women and children have suffered devastating attacks in South Sudan’s Unity State. Photo: UNICEF/South Sudan/Sebastian Rich More>>

Burundi: Emergency Support To Refugees Fleeing Burundi Crisis

Burundians fleeing pre-election violence rest on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a gruelling 22-hour boat journey. More than 100,000 Burundians have fled over the past month, arriving in Tanzania, Rwanda and ... More>>

Afghanistan: Commitment To Advancing Women's Rights

While the outgoing senior United Nations rights official in Afghanistan said she expected the human rights advances made “will be sustained, will not be rolled back, and will not be sacrificed,” she lamented the high level of violence against ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news