Taking Action Against Rhino Poaching: The Safari Club International Foundation
by OUTDOOR HUB REPORTERS on FEBRUARY 24, 2012
submitted by: AGNIESZKA SPIESZNY – Original post.
It’s become a hot-button issue since the price of rhinoceros horn increased. Poachers are scrambling to deliver the valuable product where demand is high. The rhino was a nearly extinct species in Africa one century ago, but through intense conservation efforts its population flourished.
Now in 2012, the rhinoceros has been hunted to extinction in Vietnam and now buyers are paying a high price for the horn that they believe cures cancer. It is estimated that there is one rhino killed for its horn every 18 hours in Africa. Last year, there were almost 450 rhinos killed. That number has skyrocketed considering that there were only about 15 rhinos killed per year in previous years when the price of the horn was lower.
Safari Club International Foundation President Joe Hosmer vehemently opposes the poaching. “I believe it to be absolutely horrendous,” Hosmer said. The SCI Foundation (SCIF) is battling the issue throughout the entire African continent at the governmental level.
SCIF has an office in Pretoria, South Africa where they are able to monitor all rhino activity on a routine basis. Their main objective is to make sure each country involved knows what other countries are doing. “If there are known poachers in an area we make sure to send out a warning.”
In partnership with the Friedkin Conservation Fund, SCIF has acquired a micro-light (or ultra-light) hang-glider which runs daily patrols over thousands of acres of rhino habitat. If suspicious activity is spotted, the pilot will get GPS coordinates of the location and then a ground crew that is associated with the government will go in to investigate.
So far, with the help of SCIF, Swaziland tells one of the most successful anti-poaching stories. The country has only had three rhinos poached, but in turn has shot three poachers who opened fire on rangers who caught the three men.
Hosmer said there have been plenty more poachers already stopped, although efforts are far from over. Facilities in Zimbabwe continue to monitor a number of rhinoceros that were moved from a park to a confined area where they are physically guarded until the issue is resolved.
The issue is taken on one day at a time. Just recently rhino poaching received more national attention through a report on NBC’s “Rock Center with Brian Williams”. Below is a clip of the segment. A link to all the segments is available on Hosmer’s blog.