Rhino poaching suspects arrested and appeared in court

Four men and two women appeared in Brits Magistrates Court for allegations of rhino poaching in Madibeng. The suspects known as Thabo, Thapelo, Modise, Amos, Mukura and Moana appeared in court on the 5th of December 2016. The suspects were arrested by the police on their way to Kwazulu-Natal where it is alleged that trading was going to take place. They were arrested on the 18th of November 2016. The suspects were denied bail due to the fact that some of them are not first time offenders and others flight risks. The minister highlighted that between  April 2015 and March 2016, 49 cases involving 103 accused were finalized. Of the 103 accused 80 were found guilty, thus she claimed a 78% successful conviction rate. When a rhino is poached, it is shot brutally, then the horn is removed while it is still alive. The rhino dies minutes maybe hours later due to pain.

In January 2016 the Pretoria High Court made a bold move to legalize the rhino horn trade. But this ruling was soon overturned as the Department of Environmental Affairs was up in arms fighting this decision. Was the high court on the right path? Many South Africans showed negativity towards this decision as well. Maybe the high court had good intentions. Currently, South Africa is home to 24,000 rhinos, 21,000 white rhinos and 3,000 black rhinos, which makes up 70% of the world’s rhinoceroses. A rhino horn is worth R200 000 ranging up to R300 000 per kilogram. It is a cold fact that the government together with the game park managers are failing to protect the rhino’s. Why not legalize the sale of rhino horns? Why not develop a proper administration system and make a profit from these animals without harming them?

Rhinos should be privately owned like other cattle. We are okay with slaughtering cows, sheep and chickens daily to make a profit and they are not getting instinct. why? Because they yield a profit! Making the horn trade legal should be strongly considered if we really care about these animals.

Trying to protect the rhino’s through the dehorning is a very expensive process. According to the National Department of Environmental Affairs, it costs R8000 to dehorn one rhino. Therefore, to dehorn 10 000 rhinos at eight per day would take approximately 1000 days and would cost R84 million. This is why farmers are poaching their own rhino’s to sell in the black market. Most businesses use natural resources to gain wealth. Rhino poaching is the cure to our countries financial constraints. This is a suggestion that when we look for solutions to solve the poaching problem, let us not look for a short term solution, let us look for a long term one.

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