White Rhino grazing at Monate Lodge

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Protest against rhino poaching

TO raise awareness and get more people behind the move to stop the cruelty of killing rhinos, the Joburg Zoo will host a march against rhino poaching on 13 November.
Black rhinos are being poached almost to extinctionThe march will run from 10am to 12pm and participants are encouraged to bring their own placards bearing anti-rhino poaching messages. Normal zoo entrance fees will apply.
According to Candice Segal, the zoo’s marketing assistant, the march will take place within the zoo. “The route will start at the bandstand and go through main roads such as Seal Street, Cat Walk, Wetland Walk, up Memorial Boulevard and around Tiger Trek, Jungle Junction and end at Phila, the black rhino’s enclosure,” she added.
The idea is to raise awareness about rhino poaching; it will also allow zoo staff and visitors to voice their opinions on rhino poaching and its “devastating effects” on South Africa’s rhino population.
“We had a lot of activities around rhino poaching when Phila, the rhino, first came to the zoo in October 2010. The march is the first for the zoo with regards to the issue of rhino poaching,” explains Segal.
Anyone who wants the illegal rhino horn trade and killing of rhinos to stop is invited to join the march.
There are two white rhinos and one black rhino at Joburg Zoo. Phila, the black rhino, was attacked twice by poachers and shot nine times, but survived. As a result, it was moved from Modimolle, in Limpopo, to the safety of the zoo.
Phila arrived in Joburg on 25 October 2010 to find temporary sanctuary while it recovers fully from its injuries, explains the zoo’s website.
Rhino poaching has escalated rapidly in recent years. The reasons for this are varied: disadvantaged people hunt wildlife for food and some for traditional medicines. There is also a large illegal trade in rhino horn, mostly with Asian countries.
In South Africa, in 2010 alone; about 333 rhinos were killed by poachers because of the rising demand for rhino horn. Some people misguidedly believe that the horn has properties that can cure cancer and impotence.
Because of demand and vigilant protection measures that have been instituted, rhino poachers have become more sophisticated, and use helicopters to spot the animals in the bush and night vision equipment at night to avoid getting caught. Each horn weighs about 10kg.
Black rhinos are listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

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