Wednesday, 28 September 2011
Activists march for legal rhino hunting moratorium
Animal rights activists, game reserve owners and members of the public marched to Parliament to call for a moratorium on legal rhino hunting yesterday.
The march was also in celebration of World Rhino Day.
Close to 300 rhino have been poached since the beginning of the year.
Tracy Armbruster, a member of the Outraged SA Citizens Against Poaching (Oscap) Facebook group, said licences were issued to people who abused the system and exported rhino horns for a huge amount of money.
“We want to get a moratorium set in place before October 31 to stop the hunting of rhino. It’s an endangered species. Handing out permits left, right and centre needs to stop – at least until they can sort themselves out. That will give the animal time to recover,” said Oscap member Marché Poole.
Also at the march was Searl Derman, owner of the Aquila Private Game Reserve that recently lost two rhino to poaching.
He stressed that although beefing up security at game reserves and lodges was a necessary move towards protecting rhino, it was very expensive.
“The government needs to step in, increasing security is extremely expensive. We need bigger sentences (for poachers), more people investigating, more surveillance and the government needs to take Asian markets to task.”
Gareth Morgan, the DA’s spokesman on environmental affairs, confirmed the DA’s support in the fight against rhino poaching.
“On Tuesday, the DA raised a motion that was passed condemning the cowardly act of rhino poaching,” Morgan said.
“The whole of Parliament noted World Rhino Day. We will continue to raise this issue at the highest levels to ensure it remains at the forefront of the national agenda.”
Roopa Singh, spokesman for the Water and Environmental Affairs Department, said the department was taking the issue of rhino poaching seriously.
“Minister Edna Molewa indicated that it is her intention to also engage the various provincial Environment MECs to look at the possibility of placing a moratorium on the hunting of rhino.”