By Amanda Watson
The stench of rotting meat under the African sun, flies and pools of drying blood. These are the realities of rhino poaching that a Vietnamese delegation took home after a recent visit to the Kruger National Park.
“It was terrible,” said National Assembly member and Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Science, Technology and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan, describing the site of the 387th rhino killed in Kruger. “The sight of it made me sick. It is far better to see the rhino alive and healthy,”
The visit was arranged under the auspices of the Rhinose Foundation and Vietnamese conservation group Education for Nature (ENV).
Vietnam’s last rhino was killed in 2010 and ENV is pushing for stronger laws and fines. Currently guilty parties face between seven and 13 years in prison and a fine of up to $25 000 (R244 988). Vice Chief of Hanoi Environmental Police, Colonel Nguyen Viet Tien said there have been about 20 convictions since 1982.
ENV director Nguyen Phuong Dung said demand was exceptionally high and selling rhino horns on the open market would create more problems than solutions. “These include the difficulty of differentiating between legal and illegal product.”
Meanwhile, the South African government is clamping down on ‘save the rhino’ bodies. More....