Zim supports World Rhino Day

Rising concern for the survival of the five remaining rhino species and increased global awareness of poaching and the illegal trade in rhino horn, the International Union for Conservation & Nature declared 2012 the International Year of the Rhino.

Minister of Environment Francis Nhema said that 2012 was dedicated to the Year of the Rhino.
Minister of Environment Francis Nhema said that 2012 was dedicated to the Year of the Rhino.

Three of the five rhino species are listed as critically endangered: the Javan, Sumatran and Black Rhino. In the last 10 years, two rhino sub species, the Western Black Rhino and the Indochinese Javan Rhinoceros in Vietnam, have been declared extinct. Governments have committed to conservation efforts at the highest levels to bring illegal hunting and trade under control to protect this fast disappearing species. Zimbabwe is one of the range states that has committed to this initiative.

Effective conservation efforts by governments together with conservation organisations, the private sector and private conservancies have seen the White and Black rhino brought back from the brink of extinction. War is being waged against organised criminal syndicates and it would appear that this is a war that will never be truly over. South Africa lost 705 rhino in 2011, an average of 2 a day, the number of rhino lost to poachers in 2012 to date are 373, a staggering 10 deaths a week.

A positive note

Zimbabwe currently has just over 700 Rhinos, 425 Black and 295 White Rhino. Through the combined efforts of private and public stakeholders, they are fiercely guarded, being afforded the highest level of protection by the Parks and Wildlife

Management Authority.

Zimbabwe lost 35 rhinos to poachers in 2011 and 17 to date in 2012. On a positive note, 32 births have been recorded in the first six months of this year.

Citizens of Zimbabwe gathered on Saturday and marched from Town House to Africa Union Square to show their support and ongoing commitment to the survival of their rhino. In a public address, the Minister of Environment Francis Nhema said that 2012 was special in that it was dedicated to the Year of the Rhino and should inspire co-operation for rhino conservation amongst countries, governments, private sector and individuals. He said the barbaric actions by poachers was beyond comprehension and asked ‘what has become of us?

Zimbabwe is rhino country, our flag ship species’. He went on to praise the efforts of local law enforcement agencies, conservation organisations and private custodians of rhino and appealed to traditional leaders and local communities to safeguard our rhino. In closing, he said ‘We have a moral, human and personal duty to conserve our natural resources, let’s do it together’. – www.environmentafrica.org

Post published in: Environment

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