News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Rhino horns more valuable than diamonds and gold, organized crime controls global trade, rhinos now extinct in Mozambique, BBC. al-Shabab Islamic terror group gets 40% of funding from rhino horns and elephant tusks, South Africa Mail and Guardian

4/4/15, "Poaching the creature that's more valuable than gold,"

(Near end of article): "Poacher will always replace poacher unless you take out organised crime, the big bosses," he says....On the other side of the border, the man charged with stopping rhino poaching in Kruger National Park, Maj Gen Johan Jooste, says he knows that killing poachers is not the solution....

There are no more rhinos in Mozambique - the last were killed two years ago - so his destination was South Africa's Kruger National Park, a pristine wilderness where animals can roam freely. It's home to the majority of the world's rhinos, which makes it the number one target for poachers....

Last year a record 1,215 rhinos were slaughtered for their horns in South Africa - and at the same time, 42 poachers were killed by rangers and police. This bloody conflict is fuelled by the mistaken belief in Asia that rhino horn cures cancer, and it's growing more intense every year....

Poachers usually work in groups of three. One shoots the rhino, one cuts off the horn and the other acts as a look out. Eusebio was the shooter on his four successful trips into Kruger Park, making him about $10,000 (£6,740) in total.

This is a fraction of the value of a rhino horn in Asia, where, where - falsely thought to be a cure for cancer among other things, and an aphrodisiac - it can fetch $250,000 (£170,000). But to Eusebio it meant he could move his three wives and children out of their stick hut into a small house of brick and concrete, buy some cattle and set up a small bar....

Until last year poaching was not even a crime in Mozambique, and there still seems to be a reluctance in some quarters to stop the lucrative trade.

"The police and soldiers bring the weapons here for us to go and poach," says Eusebio's father, Jeremiah. "So the first step is for the government to stop the police and soldiers bringing guns from the capital Maputo - but if the guns continue to come here, our children will continue to go poaching because they have nothing else to do."

Police even compete to be deployed to poaching areas such as Massingir and Magude, over the border from the Kruger National Park, says Mozambican journalist Lazaro Mabunda, because "this is where they can make a fortune out of poaching".

"Those running illegal hunting have practically neutralised state institutions," he says. "That's why you hardly find cases of people [convicted] for rhino poaching. On the contrary they are the most protected people by the state."

Mozambique's head of conservation, Bartolomeu de Soto, acknowledges that the number of rhinos being killed is rising, but he says poachers have been arrested, and it's because the law was only passed last year that there have been no convictions so far....
  • Wildlife crime is the fourth largest global illegal trade, according to WWF, after drugs, counterfeiting, and human trafficking
  • Rhino horn is one of the world's most expensive commodities, fetching about $60,000 (£40,500) per kilogram - it's worth more, gram for gram, than diamonds and gold
  • There are about 20,400 southern white rhinos in Africa - but campaigners warn that the number of rhinos poached may soon to exceed the number being born
  • In southern Africa, European hunters brought the rhinoceros to the brink of extinction in the early 1900s and there are no longer any in Mozambique
  • Some rhinos are pregnant when killed, others may leave orphans which later die; "There's a lot of collateral damage… of the 1200 that were killed [last year] you can probably add another 400," says vet Peter Rogers
  • Half of Mozambique's population lives on less than $1 a day."


 9/27/2013, "Rhino deaths reach tipping point," South Africa Mail and Guardian, Sipho Kings

"The EIA (Environmental Investigation Agency) says that al-Shabab, the group that claimed responsibility for this week's terror attack in Kenya, gets 40% of its funding from selling elephant tusks and rhino horns....

A report by consulting firm Dalberg this year on illicit wildlife trafficking said the global trade was worth as much as R100-billion a year. "The risk involved is low compared to drug trafficking, and high profit can be generated," it said. Rhino horn is now twice the value of gold and platinum, and is more valuable than diamonds and cocaine. In 2006, rhino horn sold for R8000 a kilogram, now it can fetch as much as R300 000....

"Poaching tends to thrive in places where corruption is rife, government enforcement is weak and there are few alternative economic opportunities."...

And where there is demand, there will be supply. A World Wide Fund for Nature investigation in Vietnam found that the average consumer of rhino powder is 48 years old and a businessman. Using the powder, and giving it to friends and colleagues, gave him a "badge of wealth and power", it said."...  


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