Rhino poaching has been a hot topic in South Africa and across the globe for a few years now. Yet despite our very best efforts these gentle giants are still being poached at an alarming rate. Last year saw 668 rhinos poached on South African soil. Disappointingly, this year seems to be no different with a saddening 446 rhino killed by the end of June 2013.
Innovation is clearly what’s needed to end this once and for all. The Sabi Sand Wildtuin Association of property owners is one organisation that’s taking a different approach and is bringing new hope to the survival of the species.
“Overcoming this present scourge is a fight in which we must prevail,” says Andrew Parker CEO of the Sabi Sand Wildtuin Association, “Our strongest available response against poaching is to cripple the business of illegal rhino horn trading before it sabotages our own existing businesses”.
“We are sending a message through the supply chain that rhino horn from Sabi Sand will endanger the health of anyone who uses it as a medicine,” says Parker. Their approach makes us of toxic infusions injected into the horns of rhinos. Pioneered by Dr Charles van Niekerk at the Lion and Rhino reserve at Kromdraai north-west of Johannesburg, this concoction is non-harmful for the rhinos but will make humans consuming the powdered horn for traditional (and false) medicinal purposes very ill.
“Sabi Sand is leading this programme because we are located at the epicentre of the problem at the southern end of the Kruger Park, which suffers up to 70% of the rhino killings,” says Parker and with any luck that number will be reduced due to this campaign’s efforts.
As you can imagine an operation like this can be costly to implement and the Sabi Sand Wildtuin Association is in need of volunteers, donations and as many people as possible to spread the message of this initiative to ensure this campaign works. More....