Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Chinese poachers slaughter rhinos

Chinese poachers slaughter rhinos

Written by Irene Moyo
Saturday, 18 December 2010 10:31

HARARE – Chinese poachers have been accused of killing six rhinos at a game
sanctuary near Harare as incidents linking the spreading Chinese footprint
in Africa to both rhino and elephant killings escalated.

The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said at least six rhinos were poached
at the Nyamaneche Game Sanctuary this month, forcing the owners to move the
three remaining rhinos to a safer location. ZCTF chairman Johnny Rodrigues
suspects that a Chinese firm mining chrome in the area was behind the

“There were nine rhinos at the sanctuary, six have been poached and they
can’t find the other three,” Rodrigues told The Zimbabwean On Sunday. “We
believe it is the Chinese …they have some concessions here to build hotels
and for hunting,” he said. The Zimbabwean on Sunday was unable to get
comment on the matter from either the Chinese embassy in Harare of the firm
accused of poaching rhinos.

Zimbabwe’s population of black and white rhinos was put at 3 000 in the
1980s but it has since been revised to about 700.

Decades of rhino conservation are at serious risk of being undermined by
crime syndicates funded by the demand for illegal rhino horn, which is still
used in traditional Chinese medicines. Last year the wildlife trade
monitoring network TRAFFIC found that Zimbabwe lost over 25 percent of its
rhino population between 2006 and 2009 to illegal killing. This troubling
figure includes 89 percent of all black rhinos killed on the continent.

Incidents linking the spreading Chinese footprint in Africa to both rhino
and elephant killings have been escalating in recent years. Last week, a
critically endangered black rhino was killed in the world-famous Serengeti
National Park amid growing concerns that Tanzania’s warm relationship with
China could lead to further problems with its precious pachyderms. In
Southern Africa, there are increased reports of rhino killings in areas
where Chinese newcomers are working and settling.

The rhino killings appear to be concentrated along the Mozambique-South
Africa border, the eastern border of South Africa’s Kruger National Park,
down to KwaZulu-Natal, and into Zimbabwe.

Illegal rhino horn is in highly sought after for use in traditional
medicines in China and Vietnam, despite the fact rhino horn has been
extensively analyzed and contains no medicinal properties.


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