Rhino update, South Africa

Smilebox_3311257579This post contains numerous links collected over the past 2 months.  Long story short, in spite of 167 arrests this year the rhino poaching situation has deteriorated significantly. Rhino poaching in South Africa in 2013 is likely to exceed 2012 record of 668 and may be as high as 1000 animals.  536 killed by end of July. The forecast extinction date for SA rhino is 2026.  The legalization of rhino horn trade is under consideration.  South Africa considering one off sale of $1 billion in rhino horn stockpile.  Another possibility is rhino farming?

Interesting things happening to wildlife in Zimbabwe

IMG_0272 (1280x960) Zimbabwe may be selling young wild elephants removed from Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park to zoos in China.  There are allegations of numerous elephant deaths both in transit and that the zoos are ill equipped, ill prepared.  This site also alleges that CITES Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species has provided a licence for these transfers.

Meanwhile, in preparation for the United Nations World Tourism Organization conference which started in Victoria Falls this week, giraffes, zebra and hundreds of wildebeest, eland, and impala antelope were caught in southern Zimbabwe and released in the 12-square-kilometer Zambezi National Park near Victoria Falls so that the 1200 delegates from 155 nations can expect to see wildlife.  The question becomes, are these many animals sustainable in a park this small?

How safe is Zimbabwe’s wildlife?

IMG_0432 (1280x960)Not very, as it turns out.  As this article notes, The Zimbabwe embassy in Stockholm reports that 13% of its territory is reserved as parks and wildlife estates.  But the article goes on to chronicle a list of growing threats to Zimbabwe wildlife:

  • conservancy areas are being eroded through occupation under the guise of the indigenization policy
  • mining concessions are proliferating in national parks
  • Zimbabwe’s food supply and drought problems encourage small wild game subsistence hunting
  • this reduces prey available for top predators leading to increased human/predator interactions
  • foreign nationals involved with mining and other industries may be contributing to elephant and rhino poaching
  • Zimbabwe is undergoing deforestation.  In some cases road building for mines provides increased opportunity for firewood collection which is proliferating as a subsistence industry.  Road building also increases poaching access.

Passionate About Cape Town

IMG_0143 (1280x959)PACT is the name of the Facebook page I found today.  I came across it when I saw a picture of Cape Town covered in sleet and hail taken yesterday.  The first picture I saw of this was on another Facebook page, Africa, where laughing is the only reaction.  I guess the message for travelers is park your preconceptions at home and be ready for anything.  Remember – penguins live not far away from here!  This was the first big storm of the winter season. Travelers!  While Cape Town can be cold, wet and windy in their winter, the weather is completely different further north and to the east, being dry and sunny and even warm during the days although cold overnight.  Snow can be experienced in the mountains near the Cape as well as in the Drakensburg.  Also, sunset at this time of year is before 6 pm so plan day trips accordingly.

TREC 1000 – Tintswalo Rhino Extreme Campaign

IMG_0307 (1280x960)It’s a 1000 km walk through the African bush around Kruger National Park and Manyeleti Game Reserve to raise awareness and funds to fight rhino poaching.  Click here to visit their website and follow their day by day experiences.  Click here for, “What is TREK“.  Click here to go to their Facebook page.  Today is day 23 of their journey.  They completed 100 km. on May 22.
May 30 rhino update especially for Kruger Park, click here for report in allAfrica.com