End the mockery now


Picture by Tim Jackson

Developments over the last week in South Africa’s rhino poaching crisis clearly indicate that trophy hunting is one of the largest contributing factors to the ongoing slaughter. This is the cue for the professional hunting bodies, both in this country and abroad, to play their part in attempting to solve this sorry saga. They need to call for an immediate moratorium on all hunting of rhino.

And the South African regulatory authorities need to do the same as it has also become apparent that the licencing officials in certain regional departments need investigating. Together, the hunters and suspect licensing practices are making an absolute mockery of any attempt to deal with the crisis.

I have on a number of occassions pointed out the absurdity that exists: the illegal killing of rhino constitutes a crisis because the losses put the future conservation status of the species at risk, yet we find it acceptable to allow a further 50% of that number to be killed because someone has the influence or money to pay for the pleasure. And then, not to mention all the loopholes that have been opened up in the trade regulations since trophy hunting has been reintroduced.

But that’s not the full extent of how ludicrous the thinking is. The same government that continues to sanction hunting and the indescriminate issuing of permits, along with some within the wildlife ranching sector, also continue to make pleas to the conservation agencies, the corporate world and the concerned public to help with donations and funding in order to save the rhino. In other words, large corporations and the concerned public that make substantial financial contributions to fight the scourge are in fact pouring money into the coffers of those that continue to allow the killing, or make demands about their rights to own and kill.

As is usual, it is going to be difficult to get any sense or action out of government. But, one can only hope that the trophy hunting industry in this country, which already has a tarnished image, sees this as an obvious way to restore some credibility.


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