INTERNATIONAL RHINO DAY, 22 SEPTEMBER 2011

As tomorrow (22 September) is International Rhino Day, we should all spare a thought for the almost 300 rhino’s that have been viciously slaughtered for their horns here in South Africa this year.

Seeing photographs of a baby rhino nuzzling up to the decaying carcass of its poached mother is an image that will stay with me forever.

It justifies calls for the immediate moratorium on all rhino hunting as corruption within the government and “the system” allows convicted poachers to get away scot free and even obtain legal hunting permits.

Other immediate steps that government needs to take, is to root out corruption and exercise stricter controls at our country’s export points, implement a zero tolerance policy with poachers including harsher punishments and industry bans. Government should waste less money on useless advertising and should invest more in researching poaching deterrents such as treating the horns with chemicals that have no effect on the rhino’s, but make the end user of the rhino horn powder violently ill.

If drastic action is not taken by the State, we run the very real risk of one of South Africa’s most beautiful natural assets becoming extinct. Spare a thought for our rhino’s and add your voice to the many we need for government to listen.