Burning Issues

Rhino Poaching

Hello Susan

Bikash Bora with emailbikashboradigipoint@gmail.com has sent the following message 

Another rhino in Kaziranga shot at, horn choppedoff 
Barely 24 hours after the gruesome incident inwhich poachers chopped off the horn of a live rhino after shooting at it,another pachyderm underwent a similar fate in the Kaziranga National Park inAssam Today.The latest incident took place at Burhapahar range of the Park. 
The rhino, which was shot at and its hornchopped off by suspected poachers in the wee hours of Thursday, is battling forlife and forest veterinarians are attending to it. 

In the wee hours of Wednesday, suspectedpoachers shot at a female rhino, which had strayed out of the park on Tuesdaynight searching for higher ground. They also chopped off the rhino's horn whenit was still alive and left the animal profusely bleeding. 

The rhino, which was attended to byveterinarians from the Kaziranga National Park is still alive. 

Kindly give a presser indian govt to save thisrare animal .Thanx

The message, received in our feedback mail, must set all of us nature lovers thinking....can we put all the blame on the Government?   We, as citizens cannot do anything to save our precious wildlife?

The use of rhino horn as a recreational drug or cancer treatment in Asia is based on myths, but has escalated exponentially over the last few years. As a result, rhino in Africa and Asia are brutally slaughtered in huge numbers for their horns. With prices able to fetch more than cocaine or gold, the trade is attracting the attention of organised crime and terrorist organisations alike. So whether you have a passion for rhinos or not, the trade could potentially still have an impact on all of our lives.

Rhino poaching is a symptom and the most effective way to tackle the problem is at the cause, which in this case is the demand for rhino horn. Stop the demand and the unlawful killing of rhinos will stop.
Watch this three minute youtube video which busts the myth about medicinal properties of rhino horn.

There are  a few things we can do and many more  ideas  will be there if the people who live around the Kaziranga Park put their mind to it.  The ideas given below are from a linkedin group called Wildlife professionals and I thought many of the suggestions are practical and implementable.   Here is what Dr Neil Wilson, Senior Ecologist at The Ecological Partnership in Forest Hills, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, has to say:

As a professional Ecologist with considerable field experience in Africa, I have the following views about eliminating rhino poaching and preventing the extinction of the Black and White Rhinos. Having eliminated rhino poachers in Southern Angola, carried out research on Black Rhino in Chizarira National Park in Zimbabwe and followed closely the extinction of the Northern White Rhino in West and Central Africa due to poaching and the rapid population decline of White and particularly Black Rhino, I am convinced that the following multi-faceted strategy is crucial to adopt without any delay to save the Black and White Rhinos from extinction: 

1. Safe havens or protected sanctuaries must be established to protect rhino comprehensively. Safe havens must be suitably protected to intercept incoming choppers used by poachers and poachers on foot. 
2. Rhino poachers, who usually are armed with automatic weapons, should be shot on sight. The Botswana Defence Force has this policy which was introduced by Ian Khama when he was head of the BDF. The shoot-to-kill policy is highly effective in Botswana. 
3. Rhino poaching syndicates must be infiltrated and all the information gathered about each and every syndicate member from the poachers to the syndicate leader. Once this information has been gathered, suitable, appropriate and severe action must be taken to eliminate the whole syndicate. This has been done effectively with the Tiger penis trade in India and South-east Asia. 
4. Rhino horn should be poisoned. A suitable poison can be used that will seriously affect a human user, while not affecting rhinos. 
5. Satellite tracking devices must be placed in each and every rhino horn. Any suspicious activity can immediately be acted on by conservation personnel in a particular area. 
6. Rapid Response Heavily Armed Reaction Units must be established at the closest airports to all rhino populations. These units will comprise of highly trained and heavily armed anti-poaching personnel who will be taken to incident areas by chopper. 
7. The South African Government and other governments where White and Black Rhino are found must take urgent, serious action and establish an effective Rhino Rescue Plan with China, Vietnam and other nations where rhino horn is marketed. 
8. The South African Department of Environmental Affairs must formulate and promote the Rhino Rescue Plan. 
9. Part of the Rhino Rescue Plan should include a massive educational drive to warn potential poachers and syndicate members of dire consequences of their actions, to inform communities about the serious threat to the survival of the Black and White Rhinos and to inform rhino horn users and potential users that the horn is chemically inert and does not have any herbal or aphrodisiac properties. The use of rhino horn for dagger handles should be dealt with in a similar way. 
10. The introduction of trained sniffer dogs by The Endangered Wildlife Trust at Oliver Tambo International is excellent. Trained sniffer dogs must be introduced at all other international airports in South Africa. 
11. Several conservation organisations are engaged in fund raising initiatives to help fund necessary anti-rhino poaching initiatives and equipment, including poacher interception cameras, poacher interception by choppers and automatic weapons for game guards. These initiatives are excellent, but need to be expanded. 
12. The South African Government and other governments where Black and White Rhino are found must set up special Rhino Conservation Funds to help fund rhino anti-poaching action. 

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