The KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Garden (KZN NBG) partnered with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Eco-Schools, Durban University of Technology and Rhino Army to educate the public on recent innovations in the fight against the poaching of critically endangered rhino, and to educate communities about the ecological importance of rhino within an ecosystem.
As part of the awareness campaign, an information workshop was held in the Garden from 4 to 5 October 2013 where various stakeholders, members of the public and staff were in attendance. Mr. Craig Mulqueeny, representing Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, gave a power point presentation on strategies Ezemvelo has planned to initiate in order to save both black and white rhino from extinction.
These innovations include dehorning; chemical infusion (in which conservationists inject a chemical cocktail into the horn of a rhino in an effort to contaminate it and make it an unviable product for the illegal black market); and increasing patrols on wildlife reserve boundary fences and national borders. Mr. Mulqueeny said particular attention had to be paid the Mozambique-South Africa border as it was reported to have high rate of poaching. The number of rhino poached in South Africa this year alone was 688 as at the end of September, he said.
A KZN NBG representative encouraged the audience to see themselves as conservationist and to play their part in the conservation of rhino regardless of their educational background.
Mr C Maimela, another representative from KZN NBG, illustrated why it is important to save rhino as the threat to rhino is also a threat to other animals living within their ecosystem. He also encouraged everyone to contribute towards the conservation of rhino species by learning more about the animal, educating others about rhino and taking environmental action such as participating in awareness drives. More....