Over 500 rhinos poached in South Africa this year : Czech Customs Seize Rhino Horns, 16 Charged

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JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng: More than 500 South African rhinos have been killed this year, official figures showed Wednesday, amid strong demand for horns on the Asian black market.

As of yesterday (Tuesday), a total of 515 rhino have been killed so far  this year,” said the environment ministry’s deputy director general Fundisile  Mketeni.

The lucrative Asian black market for rhino horn has driven a boom in  poaching in South Africa, which has the largest rhino population in the world. Many of the killings are thought to be perpetrated by poachers from global  syndicates.

On Tuesday Czech authorities charged 16 people from a gang that sent registered hunters to South Africa who returned with horns that were to be sent  on to Asian countries.

Customs officers seized 24 rhino horns, worth an estimated 3.9 million euros ($5.1 million).

Last year, 668 rhinos were killed in South Africa, a record high that could be surpassed if the poaching continues at today’s pace.

The army’s deployment in the hardest-hit area, the Kruger National Park, has done little to stem the killings. — AFP

News LinkOver 500 rhinos poached in South Africa this year – Latest – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/latest/over-500-rhinos-poached-in-south-africa-this-year-1.325633#ixzz2Zy7SUzk3

Customs Administration of the Czech Republic
Rhino horns seized from smugglers by the Czech customs

Czech Customs Seize Rhino Horns, 16 People Charged

PRAGUECzech customs seized 24 rhinoceros horns Tuesday and charged 16 people with bringing the prized material illegally from South Africa to sell it in Asia.

“Our investigation showed that the transport is organized by an international ring of smugglers who have used fake export permissions seemingly complying with (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) to import the rhinoceros horns from the Republic of South Africa to the European Union,” said Jiri Bartak, spokesman for the Czech customs department.

The arrests follow an investigation by Czech and EU customs authorities begun in 2011.

The gang was alleged to have planned re-exporting the horns as trophies, according to their fake documentation.

Rhino horns are popular in parts of Asia where many believe they can cure various illnesses or work as an aphrodisiac.

Czech authorities estimate the value of the seized rhino horns at up to 100 million koruna ($5 million), Mr. Bartak said.

The authorities said the ring employed people impersonating hunters to gain permission to ship horns acquired from African poachers to Europe and elsewhere.

Czech customs didn’t release details of where the charged individuals came from or give their names. If convicted they face up to eight years in prison.

News Link:-http://blogs.wsj.com/emergingeurope/2013/07/23/czech-customs-seize-rhino-horns-16-people-charged/

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Safari Driver Said ‘Stand A Little Bit Closer’: Photograph Shows Tourist Moments Before She Is Gored By Rhinoceros

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“OMG…what the hell is a safari ranger doing, telling people to get out the safety of their vehicles; to get a closer look or picture of rhino? Rhino have poor eyesight & can be so unpredictable. They may appear contended with visitors looking at them from a vehicle! But once you step out that vehicle; you are on their habitat & become the hunted. How stupid & totally incompetent, I hope he got the sack as he is not safe to take people into the bush! She is very lucky to be alive, if I were her, I would be taking the ranger & possibly the company to court; she could so easily have died!!” 

  • Chantal Beyer, 24, was attacked after getting out of her safari vehicle
  • South African guide allegedly urged visitors to get closer for a photo
  • Bull rhino charged seconds after picture was taken leaving Ms Beyer with collapsed lung and broken ribs

This is the photo taken seconds before a safari tourist was seriously injured by a rhino – after she was allegedly urged to stand closer to the animal by a wildlife expert.

Attack: Chantal Beyer, 24, pictured standing next to a rhino seconds before she was gored at a wildlife safari park in South Africa

Chantal Beyer, 24, was visiting the South African nature park with her boyfriend when they stopped to look at some rhinos.

Afrikaans-language newspaper the Beeld reported that guide Alex Richter then advised them to stand a little closer seconds before the animal gored her from behind.

He allegedly told a group of visitors to get out of their vehicle to take photos and even encouraged the rhinos to come closer with food.

The photograph shows them only feet away from two white rhinos which can weigh up to two tons and stand as tall as 1.8metres.

Just after the picture was taken, a huge bull rhino attacked, and its horn penetrated Ms Beyers’ chest from behind, resulting in a collapsed lung and broken ribs

Ms Beyer, a bachelor of commerce student from Johannesburg, is now in an intensive care unit at a Krugersdorp hospital where she is said to be in stable condition, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Mrs Beyer’s uncle and family spokesman Thom Peeters told the Beeld: ‘There were quite a few young people on the vehicle and they probably felt they could trust Richter, who was an adult.

South Africa’s Aloe Ridge Hotel and Nature Reserve, where the incident took place, declined to comment today.

On the resort’s website it lists rhinos as one of a number of animals which visitors can see ‘at close range’.

News Linkhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2262869/Couple-attacked-rhinos-Photo-shows-Chantal-Beyer-moments-gored-rhinoceros.html#ixzz2JmNoxDWR
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Horrific blaze kills conservationist and three baboons at South African animal rescue centre

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An horrific blaze has destroyed a baboon rescue centre killing a renowned conservationist as well as three animals.

Rita Miljo was renowned for helping to reintroduced packs of baboons into the wilds of South Africa

Rita Miljo, who reintroduced packs of baboons into the wilds of South Africa, died in the fire which destroyed much of the headquarters of the sanctuary she built, an official said.

Karl Pierce, a director with the sanctuary said the 81-year-old died in the small apartment she kept above the clinic of the Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education in the bush of Limpopo province.

Also killed in the fire were three baboons including Bobby, the first chacma baboon she rescued and nursed back to health in 1980 after spiriting her away from a national park without a permit, Mr Pierce said.

The fire broke out around 8pm yesterday after volunteers and workers left the centre for the evening, he added.

No one else was injured in the blaze, which consumed the clinic, offices and a house on the property, about 250 miles north east of Johannesburg. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

While Ms Miljo no longer ran day-to-day operations of the centre, which cares for more than 400 baboons, she remained a constant presence and a figurehead for the organisation she founded in 1989.

‘Everybody’s still in shock about this,’ Mr Pierce said.

Born in Germany in 1931, Ms Miljo arrived in South Africa in the 1950s. In a 2008 article about her in the Washington Post Magazine, she said helping baboons taught her ‘why people behave the way they do’.

‘Chimpanzees can be deceitful, just like humans, whereas baboons haven’t learned that yet,’ she said. ‘So what you learn from the baboons is the truth about yourself.

Chimpanzees have already learned to find beautiful little excuses for their behaviour.’

In South Africa, baboons have a troublesome reputation.

In Cape Town, they are known for raiding cars and frightening tourists. Baboons are a protected species under South African legislation but their aggressive pursuits of food have led to conflicts with residents.

Ms Miljo nursed orphaned and injured baboons back to health, then pioneered ways of reintroducing whole troops of cared-for baboons back into the wild, her centre said.

In 1994, the centre released 10 hand-reared baboons back into the wild.

A year later, seven had survived and integrated back into the wild population, the centre said, a success as many thought the cared-for baboons would not be able to adjust.

Ms Miljo is survived by a brother who lives in Botswana, Mr Pierce said. Her first husband, Lothar Simon, and her 17-year-old daughter died in 1972 in a plane crash.

Despite personal tragedies in her own life, she remained focused on her work to help sick and injured baboons. 

When asked in 2008 where the body of one of the baboons she sheltered would be buried, she offered a quick answer: ‘I remember where each one is and that’s where I’m going to be buried too.’

Read morehttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2180325/Rita-Miljo-death-Horrific-blaze-kills-conservationist-baboons-South-African-animals-rescue-centre.html#ixzz226swhkqF

Born Free – ILLEGAL IVORY TRADE MAY 2012 NEWS ROUND-UP

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This month’s seizure figures represent at least 251 dead elephants, bringing the total since this time last year to at least 3,180…*

3rd May – Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe 
Rangers and Border Control Unit officers impound 4 tusks, a rifle, knives and axes, making 5 arrests of poachers suspected to have killed 2 elephants and buried the carcasses after removing their tusks. Full report

5/6th May – Nr Garsen, Tana River county, Kenya
Following an exchange of fire between rangers and two gangs of 6 poachers each, two tusks with a rifle, magazines and bullets are recovered. Full report

9th May – Kariba, Zimbabwe
A vehicle attempting to escape a routine police patrol plunges into a ditch and the three occupants arrested following the retrieval of two tusks. Full report 

14-18th May – Mashonaland West Province, Zambia
A poacher is killed in a gun battle with rangers and 6 tusks are recovered. Full report 

15th May – Bedford Gardens, Johannesburg, South Africa
Acting on a tip off by text, police storm a house to find an elephant tusk, 10 rhino horns and a large amount of cash. The Vietnamese man present is arrested. Full report 

19th May – Hwange National Park, Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe
Following an exchange of fire with 6 suspected poachers, wildlife rangers seize 22 tusks. Full report

19th May – Conakry, Republic of Guinea
A collaboration between the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Env, Water and Forests, police and  leads to the seizure of 800 pieces of ivory carvings and tusks and the arrest of six major dealers. Full report

21-27th May – Binga, Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe
A poacher is shot dead by rangers and 28 tusks are seized.  A rifle and ammunition are also recovered. Full report 

21-27th May – Kotombora, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Rangers seize 22 tusks and injure a poacher in an exchange of fire. Full report

22nd May – Colombo Port, Sri Lanka
Intelligence reports from Kenya of 3 suspect containers shipped from Mombasa lead to the seizure of 359 tusks packed with dried fish inside a container and labeled as scrap plastic. In an effort to avoid detection, the container was intended for onward shipment to Dubai before being sent to its intended final destination. Full report

27th May – Marsabit Central, Kenya
Following an ambush, a man transporting 11 pieces of raw ivory on a motorcycle is arrested. Full report

? May – Kamtonga, Mwatate District, Kenya
Wildlife rangers seize 2 tusks and arrest a man suspected of previous poaching incidents in the area. Full report

? May – Kinangop, Nyandarua county, Kenya
Acting on a tip off, wildlife rangers pose as buyers and arrest three attempting to sell 42kg worth of tusks. Full report

African elephant poaching news this month includes…the unearthing of 7 elephant carcasses in an Indian Tiger Reserve and a statement by wildlife officials indicating that since 2007 around 5,000 elephants had been poached from the area around one national park in the Republic of Congo. Protected Areas are no guarantee of safety…

Help fund anti-poaching efforts to stop more elephant deaths

Sign the petition to ensure elephants are safeguarded throughout their range

* Customs authorities and police agencies can only do so much – seized tusks, carvings, chopsticks and jewellery represent a small percentage of all the illegal ivory in trade at any point in time. It has been estimated that in order to supply this total amount, 38,000 elephants – at least 8% of the entire African elephant population – are being killed annually.

News Link:-http://www.bornfree.org.uk/index.php?id=34&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=1050&cHash=5588d73d6e&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BornFreeNews+%28Born+Free%3A+Latest+News%29

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