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Hundreds march in Jozi against rhino poaching Print E-mail
05 November 2012
                                                        rhino6
 
“Rhino horn is not muti. Rhino horn is not for sale.” 
 
This message was made loud and clear during the second annual rhino march led by the Johannesburg Zoo at the weekend to raise awareness of rhino poaching and highlight its implications.
 
This year’s march also gave participants the opportunity to sign a petition calling on the government to take a firmer stance against rhino poaching and to enter into serious negotiations and agreements with countries identified as end-users in a bid to curb poaching and halt the illegal use of the rhino horn.
 
Various rhino conservation organisations joined the early morning march on Sunday. They included Rhino SA, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), Anti-Rhino Poaching, Private Game Rangers Association, Game Rangers SA, Unite Against Poaching, Mission Rhino, North West Parks and Tourism Board and Rhinose Foundation, which recently launched Rhinose Day.
 
Current rhino poaching statistics show a dismal future for the mass grazers. About 488 rhinos were poached in the first nine months of this year alone, compared with 448 poached during the whole of last year, according to statistics released recently by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA). This is a shocking increase, especially when one looks at the fact that 333 rhinos were poached in 2012.
 
The statistics also show that a total of 214 arrests were made this year in connection with rhino poaching. Of these, 186 were poachers, 10 receivers and 18 couriers.
Home to both black and white rhino, the Johannesburg Zoo has played an integral part in ensuring the safety of one of South Africa’s iconic “Big Five”.
 
Three years ago black rhino Phila was brought to the zoo after being shot by poachers nine times in two separate poaching attempts.
 
Joburg Zoo Rhino Keeper Alice Masombuka, who has cared for Phila since her arrival, said it was crucial that the animal was sent to an area where she would be able to breed again.
But she also expressed fears that placing her back into the wild could not guarantee her safety.
 
“It is crucial that Phila gets to breed again as her species is endangered. There are fewer than 5 000 rhinos left but suitable and safe accommodation is hard to come by,” added Masombuka.
 
Members of the public are urged to report incidents of rhino poaching or provide tip-offs that could lead to the arrests of the perpetrators. The DEA's hotline number is 0800 205 005. 
 
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