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Old 27th February 2015
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Poaching - contains distressing images

Poaching in Africa, especially of elephant and rhino, is a major conservation issue. It is unlikely to stop until demand from the Far East abates and corrupt officials are brought to book. I'm sorry some of the pix are rather gory but I thought it a tale worth telling.

On a recent visit to the Kruger we were pleased to see anti poacher patrols being operated by the park authorities.




Sadly in a week this was the only one we saw. Foot patrols are unlikely to be able to combat the helicopters used by some poachers and the sight of a helicopter in the park is almost always the sign of poaching.
Later the same day and a fair distance away we came upon this dead rhino a few yards from the road. It looked to have been dead for some hours but had not been visited by any of the usual scavengers.





The horn, teeth, ears and tail had been removed.



There was a fair bit of skin damage but the hole made by the bullet just behind the shoulder is clearly visible and suggests a skilled marksman.

It's depressing when this happens but it isn't all bad news as this extract from the official website shows. http://www.sanparks.org/about/news/default.php?id=56279 Nonetheless a great deal remains to be done if rhino and elephant are to survive in the long term.
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Old 27th February 2015
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Re: Poaching - contains distressing images

Going on Safari and seeing these animals is one of the greatest memories I have and will never forget. Hope to take the kids there one day.

Unfortunately there are scum who think these animals are more valuable dead than alive - let's just hope this can be stopped before "we" wipe them out.
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Old 27th February 2015
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Re: Poaching - contains distressing images

The only shooting I want to do is with a camera. Endangered species are more valuable alive.
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Old 28th February 2015
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Re: Poaching - contains distressing images

I was interested to read in today's paper that China is to ban the import of carved ivory for a year. Whether it will make any difference to elephant poaching remains to be seen. It won't help the poor rhino.
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Old 28th February 2015
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Re: Poaching - contains distressing images

And it isn't just China; Vietnam is another market. It's so ingrained and so lucrative that I think it will be impossible to stop - sadly. Killing an animal for food is one thing, but just for one bit of the body, for vanity or, well, shamanic-style 'medicine' is utterly reprehensible.

Thanks for posting.
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Old 28th February 2015
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Re: Poaching - contains distressing images

Thanks for sharing, It's such a shame. There's obviously a big demand.
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Old 1st March 2015
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Re: Poaching - contains distressing images

Sadly it's all about money. The poachers can afford to be better equipped than the park authorities because they earn a fortune from their evil trade.

I have a solution. I am sure there are plenty of rich, gun-crazed Americans who would love the oportunity to shoot real people with impunity. Why not run Poacher Hunting Safaris to raise money? It would be like killing two birds with one stone - or perhaps more like a cross between American Sniper and A Fist Full of Dollars.
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Old 1st March 2015
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Re: Poaching - contains distressing images

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melaka View Post
There was a fair bit of skin damage but the hole made by the bullet just behind the shoulder is clearly visible and suggests a skilled marksman.
Yeah that's proper shooting, not just a spray from an AK.

The teeth too? I hadn't a clue there was demand.
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Old 1st March 2015
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Re: Poaching - contains distressing images

A skilled shot indeed but if the poachers were using a helicopter you'd expect something better than an AK47 for the shot.

My initial thought based on colour and skin texture was that it was a hippo which would explain removing the teeth. The wider consensus of safari drivers we spoke to was rhino which is why I have attributed it that way. Unfortunately most of the distinguishing features have either been removed or are out of sight. You're not allowed out of your vehicle, except in a few designated spots, so it wasn't possible to investigate more carefully. You can just see part of a small bush in the top left of the upper photo, behind which, on day two, there was a handsome male lion ...

The interesting thing was how little interest the scavengers had taken. When we went back the following day there was evidence the lions had eaten a little of the head and some flesh by the backbone. There was not a hyena, jackal or vulture to be seen.
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Old 1st March 2015
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Re: Poaching - contains distressing images

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There was not a hyena, jackal or vulture to be seen.
No surprise, considering the hyena's jackals and vultures who are doing the real damage are using helo's to do their dirty work.

As has been said: The bottom line in all of this is corruption.

Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. Rather than continually feeding millions who continue to procreate when they can't even look after themselves, I'd like to see some of my hard earned tax money being spent, preserving wildlife... once it's gone, it's gone.

A few Special Forces teams on rotation from various countries on 'live training exercises' could make a real dent in the poaching, especially if the many conservation area(s) were made a 'permission only' no fly zone.

A few rockets up a few rear-ends would certaily spell it out.
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Old 3rd March 2015
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Re: Poaching - contains distressing images

I wonder if the authorities try as hard as they could to stop poaching. Probably not and I'm sure there is collusion in high places. Sometimes the actual poachers do get caught, sometimes they are killed in a firefight. I asked the two in the top photo about this but they said they were only there to arrest.
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Old 3rd March 2015
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Re: Poaching - contains distressing images

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Originally Posted by Melaka View Post
I wonder if the authorities try as hard as they could to stop poaching.
I'm sure this is the case in most situations. Corruption does seem to be a way of life in many of these so called backward countries. Looking at the long term, it will be everyone's loss. To be fair, there are many in public offices in this country who have their snout in the same barrel.

After posting, I later checked up on some of the Safari Parks and found that there has been some US ex-special forces assisting in the fight against the poachers. Seems that if they, the Special Forces are found, then they will be killed by the poachers if found or caught.
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Old 5th March 2015
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Re: Poaching - contains distressing images

Today's paper reports that Prince William has made a robust speech in China about ivory and rhino poaching. It's most encouraging to see him taking a firm stand on issues like this.
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