The massacre of South Africa’s iconic rhinos continues unabated, as the latest figures released by the government show a staggering 373 rhinos killed since the start of 2012.
Although 199 suspects have been arrested in South Africa for rhino crimes this year, none are at the “kingpin” level.
Vietnam was identified as one of the main destinations for rhino horn leaving South Africa, and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two countries has been on the table since September 2011. In many cases, trophy hunting was utilized to launder illegal rhino horn obtained by Vietnamese “hunters”, while exports of live rhinos to Vietnam have coincidentally increased.
South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs stated earlier this week that the MoU would be signed at the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which takes place next month in Hyderabad, India.
Meanwhile, the issue of South Africa’s recent exports of over 100 live rhinos to China — historically the largest consumer of rhino horn — remains unaddressed.
Image #1 © iStockphoto.com; image #2 © Annamiticus