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Tipping Point: Transnational Organized Crime and the War on Rhino Poaching

Credits: By Juian Rademeyer - July 2016 The Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime

 

July 2016 Comments by Nature-Explored

Julian Rademeyer is an investigative Journalist from South Africa He has been working on rhino poaching for six years and he has produced a report exposing the dark side of rhino poaching from end to end, which can be read in full from the links at the bottom of this page.

Since 2006 more than 6000 rhinos have been poached in Africa. Currently there are about 25000 left in the whole of Africa, of which about 5000 are black rhinos and 20000 are white rhinos.

In 2015 across Africa at least 1342 were killed for their horns. Most of the poaching takes place in South Africa which holds about 79% of the total population, but there have been increases in killing notably in Zimbabwe (51) and Namibia (90).

Kenya has showed a reduction (35 in 2014 to just 11 in 2015)

Rhino horn still commands huge sums of money in Vietnam and also to some extent in China. The horn is thought to be a cure for various ills including cancer, but increasingly it is seen as a status symbol amongst the very rich.

Rhino poaching thrives on high prices, corruption, incompetant law enforcement and lack of multiparty cooperation and information sharing. Coupled with poverty, and a scarcity of funding for protection, it is easy to see how organized criminal gangs can operate with relative ease and always find a ready supply of foot soldiers to take the risks.

It's now being increasingly said that the war on poachers generally will not be won in the parks by the rangers. (Over 100 rangers have lost their lives in Africa this year up to July).

To beat the poachers the response needs to be intelligence lead and needs to target the whole chain of events. Crucial to the success is the requirement for much greater global and regional cooperation by national and international law enforcement agencies.

Currently the organized criminal gangs are running rings round the conservationists in many places, with one or two notable exceptions such as Lewa in Kenya which is well funded and well managed.

We have run out of time - we have reached or possibly passed the tipping point for rhinos.

If we put 10% of the cash towards conservation that we do towards buying weapons we could have this problem licked. So why don't we?

You can read the two part report by clicking on these links

 

Global Initiative Tipping Point Part1 July 2016
 

Global Initiative Beyond Borders Part2 July 2016