Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Warning: Graphic Images From The Rhino Wars!

"Why do you want my horn?"

Rhino horn is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine where it is ground up, then infused in boiling water and prescribed as a treatment for fever, rheumatism, gout and other disorders. It is also mistakenly believed to be an aphrodisiac. Now fetching $65,000 a kilo in Asia, a 6kg horn valued at $380,000 is powerful incentive for criminal Asian syndicates to fund illegal poaching operations in Africa and Asia. Corruption at various levels of Governments and all along the supply chain is extremely difficult to combat.  

Photo: Jim McIntosh
Scientifically, rhino horn is Keratin, the same as our hair, toe or fingernails. 
It has no medicinal benefits, but old beliefs, new rumours that rhino horn cures cancer, coupled with rising Chinese and Vietnamese affluence are driving up demand. Poaching skyrocketed after an ex-premier of Korea claimed in 2008 that rhino horn cured their cancer. Elle MacPherson, in 2010, stupidly quipped she used it as an anti-ageing cure. However the biggest myth-booster since 2007 has come from the Chinese government investing heavily in boosting its Traditional Chinese Medicine industry. And that is putting endangered wildlife everywhere under immense pressure. factsanddetails.com/china

The myth is growing that rhino horn cures almost anything. Criminal syndicates and TCM producers of rhino horn ''cures" boost this myth to drive up the demand and prices to make more profits. While many TCM organisations may openly state it is against their organisations' principles, human greed is what it is and unscrupulous members may still be involved. 
Rhino horn is not medicine!

Once rhino were found across Africa, Asia, North America and into Europe, now they are down to less than 27,000. How can rhino survive this onslaught?

Three species are critically endangered. 
The World's population today of the 5 species of rhino- White rhino: 20,000, Black rhino: 4,500, Greater One-horned rhino: 2,800, Sumatran Rhino: 200, Javan Rhino: 44. These figures are best estimates: some argue they are way too high. Plus if poaching continues its rapid escalation, losses from illegal kills will outstrip current natural breeding increases achieved with hard fought conservation programs over the past 40 years with Africa's White and Black Rhino.

In South Africa dedicated volunteers are being trained and deployed in game reserves to patrol and protect rhino. We are begging, pressuring, and petitioning governments to help fund the Anti-Poaching Units, and to effectively bring the criminal organisers to justice. The South African prosecution rates are abysmal with less than 5% of charges resulting in successful prosecutions, most of those against the lowest echelon of poachers -the poor poverty driven local poacher, - the ''minnows'' who are easily replaced. 
The organisers of the poaching rings need to be targeted worldwide with all resources available.
This is a responsibility of all governments, but the South African government needs show leadership and demonstrate its commitment to protecting its major tourism jewels - its wildlife! 

Photo: Wendy Warwick, Krugersdorp Game Reserve.
Meantime rhino are shot.

We are trying to get more APU's on the ground. They are very effective, and have captured many poachers. Some have been shot at themselves. They lay their lives out there with them.

Photo of  Umfurudzi Game Park staff inspection team by Jan Stander.
Rhino are trapped by wire snares that horrendously injure them and cause a long, slow death.

APU, SANParks and Game Reserve staff remove hundreds of illegal, cruel wire snares every day laid by local poachers.

At the other end of the scale, poaching is very quick and high tech, carried out by ex-military, ex-policemen, professional hunters and veterinarians using helicopters, latest thermal-imaging technology, tranquillizer dart guns, and chainsaws: very speedy and hard to combat unless APU's monitor rhino 24/7.


Chainsaws remove the horn from the drugged but living rhino, leaving it to wake to a living hell! TCM values the horn removed from a live rhino higher.

Calves are killed also.
The brutality by humans is unbelievable. Who deserves this planet?

Killing the calves means there are less rhino around which sends the price higher for each horn which drives the killings up by making it more profitable. A vicious circle. The Rhino War is heating up!

You can help!
There is a growing world movement of concerned groups that more people are joining to help end the slaughter. Rhino protection groups are in the forefront of pressuring governments to stop poaching now, by funding APU's, and to target the criminal organisers to bring an end to this appalling trade.

Anyone can search Facebook or Google search for rhino protection groups to join.

We need you to join facebook.com/groups/saveourrhino/ 

"Who cares for the calves that do survive a slaughter?"

Every caring game reserve owner will take on the task of caring for the young.  

In Kenya, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust cares for young rhinos and many orphan elephant calves. You can donate or even adopt any of the orphans. We have adopted 2 orphan elephants and each month we receive updates on their progress. Visits there are welcome. 

Stopping the trade is the responsibility of all governments, but the South African government needs to show leadership, and demonstrate its commitment to protecting its major tourism jewels - its wildlife! 

Sorry about the horrible graphic images, but this is the reality of the Rhino Wars.
We need the plight of rhino shared everywhere!
Use the share buttons below. Please!



I'm prepared to auction a replica pair of Lord Of The Rings boots as worn by Aragorn, and donate proceeds to saving rhino from the poaching slaughter.

These boots are handmade, and sell for over $1,000 NZ dollars.

I should add that we made a lot of the footwear for the LOTR movies for most of the human and Elven characters. 
You can read an interesting story here- L is for Lord of the Rings.

Reserve price is NZ$400. 

Meet the reserve, or better any bid above that and you can have a pair handmade for you in any standard men's size 6-12.
Highest bid above the reserve wins.

I'll donate all proceeds to Save Our Rhino K9 Investigations Anti-Poaching Unit fund raiser.
K9 is a registered security firm in South Africa set up to protect rhino from poaching. As a member of Save Our Rhino Facebook group I am supporting this financially and encouraging more people to do what they can by way of donations, however small to stopping the slaughter in the Rhino Wars.

Place your bid please by emailing me at jimshu2000@hotmail.com now please.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Red Carpets and Leopard Skins.

Jacob, can you hear us? Why aren’t you up front in the wars! We need real men to fight poachers with their helicopters, drugs and chainsaws. Leave your leopard skin at home –spots don’t hack it in the bush- camo is more fitting. Do you miss the point of all of this? Someone ever tell you leopards are endangered?

Can you get out of your office Jacob? Red carpet dignitaries, filling their hollowness with fresh fillet and rich gravies; paper-umbrella decorated cocktails; dipping their snouts...while scheming to fill their offshore accounts. That takes so much time: oh, the details! But those important matters ignore the rhino decimation: so deal with it by pulling down the shutters and new gagging legislation! Ah, but blood still stains the reddest carpet when so many are trampling it in.

Jacob, how do we know the enemy within? Can we meet you on the battlefield when you finally cave in? The APU guys in the bush know what they’re fighting for: they put their blood out there on the line. Their stains will be those honestly entwined…around every fibre of the red carpet on your office floor. Tread carefully: look away as you walk the canyons of power. Don’t ignore the reminders of the War.

Have you seen their faces Jacob? Deep drugged slumber; chainsawn facelift; agonising wakefulness; stumbling, uncomprehending the hell! 3 days to die in front of their brood: would be better that they killed them! Their red carpet is the ground stained black with clotted blood!

Jacob, have you heard them -the cry of the calves? “Mama, are you sleeping? I can hear no heartbeat sound. Mama, you’ve grown cold now -as cold as the hard ground. Mama, will you protect me? Hyena gather round!”

And the tourists, Jacob –they want the Big Five.  Jacob, will you protect them? How many lion are left alive? Bones in bottles of Asian wine! Oh, the big tuskers – where are they? Chopsticks to enable the Asian to happily dine! Leopard? Just dignitaries ego-boosting attire? How long before they all go?
Jacob, take the lead now, the men will fall right in. Show you’re worthy to walk red carpets, and wear your leopard skin.
"Mama, are you sleeping?"
 South Africans will realise this an appeal to Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa to take the lead in the rhino poaching crisis.
The South African Government must fully fund more Anti-Poaching Units, and bring the organisers of the criminal poaching syndicates to justice!


Forget Polar Bears -Rhinos face extinction now!

While the glamour poster stars of the Save The Planet movement grab the public attention -yes they are cute and cuddly, but try hugging one!- rhino are being driven to extinction. We can argue all we like about the fate of polar bears given climate change, but the facts are polar bear numbers are well up on 1970's numbers when hunting brought their numbers to an alarming low of around 7,000. Restrictions on indigenous peoples hunting for meat and fur, and trophy hunting has seen numbers rise to an estimated 23-25,000.
Meanwhile, rhino don't have the luxury of time: a staggering 488 rhino were slaughtered in South Africa alone in 2011. Less than 27,000 rhino of all species exist and the rate of poaching is increasing.

Stop the poaching and rhino numbers will recover, as happened with polar bear numbers.

Rhino have been around for 50 million years and were widespread (occurring in North America and Europe as well as in Africa and Asia), but Traditional Chinese Medicine beliefs are fuelling poaching throughout Africa and Asia. Rising affluence in China and Vietnam mean more people there can afford these ‘treatments’ and criminal syndicates are illegally driving poaching and trafficking of rhino horn to supply this market. Fetching $US65,000 a kilo on the blackmarket, corruption at all levels of Government and along the chain of export to Asian markets make it extremely difficult to stamp out the trade, threatening the very existence of Rhino on this planet.  

It is thought that the surge in poaching after 2008 may have been linked to comments made by an ex -premier of South Korea when he announced he used rhino horn for his cancer, fuelling a growing myth that rhino horn cures cancer. Rhino horn was traditionally prescribed as a cure for sexual dysfunction in Traditional Chinese Medicine, but now is being promoted as a cure for almost any ailment.  In 2010, Elle Macpherson stupidly quipped she used powdered rhino horn to combat ageing. So the myth that rhino horn is medicine for any ailment has been growing concurrent at a time when rising Chinese affluence means more can afford this. At $65,000 a kilo, vested Chinese and Vietnamese criminal interests will be keen to see the myths promoted!

Today, only five species of rhino survive. All rhinos are under threat of, and most species are on the verge of, extinction. Unlike Polar Bears, environmental adaptation isn't going to save them -only drastic action against human predation can!
Estimates are:
White rhino: 20,000
Black rhino: 4,500
Greater One-horned rhino: 2,800
Sumatran Rhino: 200
Javan Rhino: 44

2007 saw 13 killed in South Africa. However rhino poaching escalated to 488 killed in SA in 2011. Plot those figures on a graph and you'll see rhino exterminated in less than a decade.
2011:   448!   

Rhino horn is not medicine, it is Keratin, merely the same as hair and toenails.

We must act urgently to protect the remaining 27,000. We must educate to change beliefs. Volunteers are mainly manning the APU units, risking their their lives to protect rhino. Living rough in the bush for days, ever vigilant, and catching and killing poachers if necessary. Governments must take strong action to fully fund anti-poaching units, and lift their abysmal prosecution rate.

Share this article across your social media networks. Help publicise this issue. Let's generate more worldwide pressure on Governments to act now!


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Galapagos Islands: Land and sea scapes.

Galapagos Islands is well known for unique wildlife: gentle marine and land iguanas seen nowhere else, tortoises that mimic small cars for size, sea lions so unafraid and inquisitive they will tickle you with their long, sensitive whiskers, and birdlife that astounds in its colour and diversity. It is expected you'll fill up your memory cards with cute animal pics, but this ancient archipelago of volcanic islands erupting from the bowels of the earth offers other treasures: clear waters, raw knife-sharp cliffs, lava faced coastlines, white coral beaches, and colourful vegetation come together for picture-postcard scenes.

This picture was taken through the tinted glass of our G Adventures boat.

Same scene but taken from out on the deck.

This land is just as unique and colourful as its weird wildlife.

Eek! What on earth is this monster?

A lava formation.

BTW, none of the photos have been enhanced. They have merely been cropped for effect.