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

 

Julie Webb-Pullman: Palestinian National Unity Government

A national unity government. Elections. A new-look PLO. Community reconciliation. Big hopes, even bigger expectations as representatives of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Hamas came to an agreement in Gaza today to form a national unity government and hold elections. More>>

ALSO:

Whaling: Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research In Defiance Of World Court Ruling

The ICR Today Filed Court Briefs Stating They Intend to Return to Antarctica to Hunt Whales in 2015-2016; Will Seek to Enjoin Other Sea Shepherd Entities from Obstructing Their Operations More>>

Ukraine: UN Urges 'Maximum Restraint' Amid Situation In East Ukraine

Deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in eastern Ukraine, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for maximum restraint and appealed to all sides to work towards calming the situation, which has the 'growing potential' to ... More>>

United Nations: Children Can Now Lodge Complaints With The UN

GENEVA (14 April 2014) – United Nations child rights experts have hailed a new treaty that allows children to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rights. More>>

India: Election But A Ritual In Nation Lacking Rule Of Law

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) congratulates the people of India for their participation to elect the 16th Lok Sabha. The process has attracted, as usual, considerable media attention across the world. Media claims the process to be 'the largest democratic ... More>>

Solomon Islands: Thousands Remain Affected After Flash Floods

An estimated 52,000 people remain affected in the worst-hit areas of Honiara and greater Guadalcanal following last week’s devastating floods which killed at least 23 people. More>>

ALSO:

World: Some 437,000 People Murdered Worldwide In 2012 - UN

Almost half a million people across the world lost their lives in 2012 as a result of intentional homicide, with the highest murder rates logged in the Americas and Africa, and the lowest in Europe, Asia and Oceania, the United Nations Office on ... More>>

Central African Republic:: Security Council Establishes UN Peacekeeping Mission

Deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation and ongoing human rights abuses in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Security Council today approved the establishment of a nearly 12,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping operation ... More>>

ALSO:

Parliament: NZ Sending Aid Flight To Solomons

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has announced further support for the response to severe flooding in Solomon Islands. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news