Rhino Drama Continues…
In a conservancy near the Kruger National Park, the number of rhinos that have lost their lives to rhino poachers has been high. Now Atile and her new calf, Bina, are in danger of losing their lives. However, the reserve managers are determined not to let this happen and are pinning their hopes on a de-horning programme.
Dehorning rhinos is risky business! It has to be done carefully for the safety of both the humans and the animals. It also acts as a deterrent to poachers and is not a foolproof exercise. Rhinos have horns for a reason… Will Atile manage to survive and protect Bina without hers? In this episode, we continue the rhino debate as we watch the vulnerable mother rhino and calf being sedated, dehorned and set free to an uncertain future. We talk about how feasible it is to dehorn rhinos, what effect the release of rhino horn stockpiles will have on the global market and whether the trade in rhino horns could really work to save our rhinos.
Rhino poaching is continually on our minds, on the radios, in the papers and on TV. Since 2010, poaching rates have soared to what may ultimately lead to the decimation of the species, and there seems to be no single, conclusive solution. But we, as well as the rhinos, keep fighting for the survival of this African icon.
Book review: The Rhino Keepers
This story about the conservation of Africa’s rhinos reveals the experiences and insights of the eminent conservationists Clive and Anton Walker. It is a harrowing real-life account that underscores the enormous challenges that are faced by rhino caretakers in a world where rhino horn rivals cocaine in the end-user markets of the East.
N3 vs Bearded Vulture
Another road! The N3 is one of South Africa’s busiest highways. It doesn’t seem to be coping with its load, however, and the proposed solution threatens the lives of one of the last breeding pairs of bearded vultures in the Free State.
The new highway will pass just two kilometres from Nelsonskop, the mountain top on which these raptors breed. Diverting traffic away from the N3 along this proposed route will destroy pristine wetlands, sensitive bird areas and the land in which the vultures find food, and will also have an effect on other threatened species. The proposed route is a point of contention for ecologists, residents and businesses alike. We visit the Free State to take a closer look.
In this week’s ‘Sekgweng’ segment, Johann takes us to see some of the smaller creatures of the veld. While homeowners live in fear of them, termites are a fascinating part of the fallen leaves, fungi and soil. Have you ever wondered what it is that looks like an old man has caught his beard on a branch?
Johann also braves the underside of a rock to explain the rather scary world of scorpions to us.
What’s for lunch? This week’s Veldfokus looks at some clever birds (and some not so clever ones) and their snacks. We also have our first winner for the season.