Utne Blogs > The Periscope

The Periscope

Curing Ignorance Through the Lens


Approaches to Prevent Poaching

rhino

A number of efforts are being aimed at saving Africa's animals.

The outlook for many of Africa’s grand animals is bleak. There are only 26,000 rhinos left, the majority of which live in South Africa where one dies every seven hours; in Gabon forest elephants are dying at a rate of 9 percent of the population per year. A major cause of this is poaching, an industry in which incentives are lucrative—rhino horns can bring in $65,000 per kilo (equivalent to 2.2 pounds). However advocates are addressing this problem from a number of different angles.

In an effort to save rhinos, Rhinos Without Borders is planning to relocate 100 animals from Kruger National Park in South Africa to Botswana, which has the lowest poaching rate on the continent. The organization is identifying rhinos suited for the January 2015 move, finding areas within Botswana to bring them to, and raising necessary funds (each rhino will cost about $45,000 to relocate).

Officials from Namibia, Tanzania, and Togo are looking for high-tech ways to track poachers and prevent harm to animals. They have requested help from the U.S. in the form of light attack helicopters, night-vision goggles, and infrared scanners. Another suggestion is to coordinate cooperation between countries. Not only do animals often cross borders which can complicate matters, but countries such as Botswana have developed effective policies that can serve as a model. Additionally, the demand side, which largely falls in China, needs to be mitigated.

Photo by Thomas Hawk, licensed under Creative Commons.