It’s not the poaching for its much sought-after horn by foreign markets that has placed the rhinoceros in peril, it’s the dithering by government, as well as the war between activists and private owners, that have contributed to its vulnerability.
Activists with the media’s ear firmly believe the animal is sacred and should only be seen free in the bush, with its horn attached.
The activists work hard to raise money for antipoaching units and awareness.
Owners, who have about 20% of the national herd, say they are paying a lot of money to raise and protect their animals and should be allowed to sell the horn as they receive little to no funding.
Then there is the department of environmental affairs which fumbled the ball, losing in the High Court and the Constitutional Court as its challenge to the moratorium being overturned was dismissed, making local trade in rhino horn legal.
The department says it has a plan.
However, given the never-ending massacre of rhinos, there is little faith from other parties in the plan.
The fact is that since the moratorium on the trade in rhino horn was imposed in 2009, the exact opposite of its intention – to prevent poaching – has occurred.
It’s time the three groups, who all have the same goal, come together in their common purpose.
Something has to change.