FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Dear visitors to StopRhinoPoaching.com
Our time is stretched between managing existing rhino projects and establishing new ones, allowing precious little time to personally respond to the multitude of general e-mails we receive each week. Here is some basic information covering a number of the enquiries we get.
Thanks to each and every one of you for your concern and support. Please don't think badly of us - we are out there making a difference!
I WANT TO HELP, HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?
Ultimately, funding makes the biggest difference. Something as relatively inexpensive as a good torch can make the biggest difference in a ranger's life. The motivational aspects are huge! Hold an event, sporting day, donate a portion of sales from a product, help your kids sell cupcakes at school......we have been helped by so many people in so many ways. Get creative!
For those of you keen to get involved in anti-poaching, StopRhinoPoaching.com doesn't run Volunteer Programs as such. Security regulations, liability and costs are just too prohibitive.
SO MUCH FUNDING HAS GONE IN TO RHINOS AND NOTHING SEEMS TO BE WORKING...
Our first reaction to this statement is to remind people that if it weren't for all the efforts of so many we would have lost HUNDREDS more rhino over the last few years. The rhino situation needs to be looked at in the context of organised crime and the high level of corruption in South Africa. The proliferation of poaching groups coupled with the complexity of investigating wildlife crimes and our slow court process means that we are up against an escalating threat. Our strategy is to help make individual reserves and security hubs a hard target, minimising the risk to the rhino herds on these reserves. It certainly isn't easy and it's going to take the efforts of all of us to save the rhino, but this is one fight we simply wont walk away from. Irrespective of the challenges we'll be standing side by side supporting rhino reserves and their rangers.
WHY DON’T YOU JUST CUT ALL THE RHINO HORNS OFF?
De-horning has been undertaken by some reserves in an attempt to deter poachers from killing their rhinos. For those of you who are interested, visit our Rhino Knowledge page for a workshop report compiled by the Endangered Wildlife Trust. It’s quite detailed, but there are summary tables at the end of the document.
WHY DON’T YOU JUST GIVE THE CHINESE/VIETNAMESE AN ALTERNATIVE PRODUCT?
Traditional Chinese Medicine has a spiritual and symbolic component that plays a big role in Eastern belief systems. Cow hooves, horses hooves and any other alternative you may come up with may supply a similar chemical composition /substitute, but won’t replace the supposed spiritual characteristics of strength and power contained in a rhino product. Click here for more common myths from Conservation Economist Michael 't sas-Rolfes' website, Rhino Economics.
TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, released its report titled The South African - Viet Nam Rhino Horn Trade Nexus in August 2012. This report gives an excellent review of the rhino crisis including rhino horn uses and consumers. You will find a link on our Rhino Knowledge page.
WHY DON’T THEY INFILTRATE SYNDICATES AND FLOOD THE MARKET WITH FAKE HORNS?
If one were to infiltrate a black market, rather let all that time and effort go into arresting them! There are an increasing number of opportunists who are trying to sell off fake horns, some of which are very realistic. Ultimately though, organised crimes syndicates are able to tell the difference quite easily and the chances of these horns making it on to the market from South Africa are slim. Interestingly, water buffalo and cow horn has been found for sale as rhino horn in consumer countries, users being none the wiser.
WHY DON’T THEY DE-HORN RHINOS AND REPLACE THE HORN WITH A FAKE HORN?
There is no way that a fake horn can be attached to a rhino.
TECHNOLOGY ADVICE OF EVERY KIND – FROM FENCE MONITORS TO UNMANNED AIRCRAFT.
One of the most inhibitive factors is cost. Secondly would be practical application in the bush (electricity supply problems, solar panels being stolen etc) and thirdly the size of the areas in question. These three points quickly eliminate most options, but by far the most relevant deciding factor is whether there is an effective security plan in place to follow up on alerts. That is why, as a level 1 need, we concentrate our efforts on training rangers. TRACKING DEVICES: There are already tracking devices on the market that monitor rhino movements using GPS, send alerts if a rhino is stationary for more than a few hours, if a rhino shows an unusual amount of activity or if the horns are removed from the body. These tracking devices are being used in some reserves but will only be fully effective with a trained and equipped reaction team in place. Also, because of the widespread media exposure about tracking devices in horns, poachers are already using counter measures. UNMANNED AIRCRAFT/DRONES - there are a number of models available and this option is being explored by a number of reserves. What has worked in conflict areas will not necessarily work in the African bush! The CSIR is busy assessing technology offers on behalf of SANParks, including drones. As such, SRP will not get involved in any drone projects.
Since starting the site we have been contacted by numerous security companies wanting to get involved. Because security is very subjective - what is a good idea to one may not be to another - and is dependent on so many variables, we do not necessarily get involved in this area. There are also established security companies, experienced in wildlife protection, who are contracted to the majority of the large private rhino reserves.
WHY CAN RHINO STILL BE LEGALLY HUNTED IF SO MANY ARE BEING POACHED?
This is not an easy one to explain. Firstly, the Department of Environmental Affairs works closely with recognised rhino experts, conservationists and scientists who’ve dedicated their lives to rhino conservation. The call for a moratorium on rhino hunting has come from a mostly uninformed and emotional sector which doesn’t necessarily understand the dynamics – or the reality - of the rhino industry. Although many might not like it, hunting rhino does play a role in rhino conservation. Rather than going into the whole hunting debate, click here for further information.
WHY DON'T THEY JUST TRADE IN RHINO HORN AND SAVE RHINO'S LIVES. AM I MISSING SOMETHING?
This is perhaps the most controversial topic around at the moment, and one that is polarising efforts and rhino organisations. Please note that StopRhinoPoaching.com is ISSUE NEUTRAL on trade. There is a great deal of content (both pro and anti-trade) to be found on the internet covering this subject.
WHY DOES SRP NOT GET INVOLVED IN MARCHES, PUBLIC PROTESTS, BOYCOTTING OF CHINESE PRODUCTS ETC.
StopRhinoPoaching.com is NOT an activist organisation. We have a huge responsibility towards our corporate partners and to maintaining a close relationship with those role players who welcome our assistance - some of whom are provincial and national authorities. There is great scope for CONSTRUCTIVE protest - eg against the granting of bail to suspected poachers.
MUTI BROCHURES ON STREET CORNERS AND WEBSITES ADVERTISING RHINO HORN.
There have been a number of people contacting us about rhino horn being listed on traditional healer's brochures which are handed out at street corners. Please refer these details to the police via the online reporting e-mail on our Reporting page.
We have also been alerted to there being local rhino "products", some of a "medicinal nature" available in certain stores. Although we quite agree that this is not the message that needs to be going out there, we do not have the resources to tackle these companies head-on. By all means do so personally.
Rhino horn for sale on the internet. Organised criminal syndicates have no need to advertise on the web!! Chances are good that these are scams, so avoid making contact as they'll then have your details!
WHAT ARE SOME SOLUTIONS?
Rhino poaching is incredibly complex transnational crime involving organised criminal syndicates. There is no single solution or quick fix. Bringing down the figures is going to take a complex set of strategies involving an all-of-government approach. Even though the crisis sometimes feels insurmountable, for the rhino' sake we need to keep on trying.
CROSS BORDER OPERATIONS IN THE KRUGER NATIONAL PARK