The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), in recognising a dire need to urgently address the rapidly escalating problem of rhino poaching in South Africa, has developed a project to strengthen the security of rhino in South Africa. The Rhino Security Project is addressing rhino security concerns on privately owned game farms as well as in formally protected areas by improving communication between rhino owners and the relevant government officials, supporting investigations into rhino poaching incidences, working with relevant bodies to identify causes and drivers of the trade in rhino horn and enhancing current knowledge of, and information on the demographics of rhinos in situ in collaboration with other existing initiatives.
Through the EWT’s Rhino Security Project it has become evident that members of the public often become aware of information about poaching incidents or the sale of rhino horns which should be reported to the authorities for action. In response to this, the EWT has established a Rhino Poaching Hotline to which information can be submitted for appropriate action by the enforcement agencies or other bodies.
The EWT Rhino Hotline number is 082 404 2128 . We call on every person who becomes aware of any illegal, or suspicious activities concerning rhino poaching or the sale, movement and or trade in their horns, to please make use of this number in order to get the information to the relevant enforcement agencies. Other relevant information is knowledge of pilots or veterinarians involved in poaching through the use of aircraft and scheduled drugs and the unethical conduct of any professional hunters or outfitters to obtain rhino horn for the trade. All information will be channelled through the EWT’s Rhino Security Project’s lines of communication to the relevant authorities for investigation. Any person who wishes to stay anonymous may do so and details of callers will be protected.
With 153 rhino having been poached between January and the end of July this year, it is time that every South African citizen becomes involved in the fight against the wanton killing of our rhino. Amidst the illegal shooting of rhino by poachers on foot, there are those who also operate from the air with helicopters and dart guns. We believe that there are individuals out there who have valuable information that will greatly assist in these investigations and we urge them to make use of the Rhino Hotline to report this information.
We also request all landowners who have been approached by individuals offering to dehorn their rhino as a security measure, and at the same time buying these horns, to report this. It is an offense to capture and dehorn rhino if you are not in possession of a valid permit which authorises this activity. Such horns must then immediately be micro chipped and declared to the authorities in order to obtain possession permits for them. It is also illegal to buy, donate, sell or dispose of rhino horn in any way whatsoever if you are not in possession of a valid permit which authorises this.
It is a criminal offense to not report wildlife crime!
The EWT’s Rhino Security Project is kindly supported by the International Rhino Foundation, the SA Mint Company, San Francisco Zoo and various individual donors.
For more information please contact:Faan Coetzee Project Executant Rhino Security Project The Endangered Wildlife Trust