Written by Rapula Moatshe
THE dehorning of rhinos to discourage poaching was not a solution to the killings of the animals because of the international ban on the trading of the horn.
Animal rights activist Alexia Abnett said the international ban on the trade of rhino horns rendered the dehorning useless because the horns were stockpiled, but not sold.
The city had rhinos at its Rietvlei Nature Reserve dehorned last week after a poaching incident that left two rhinos dead. But this was not the solution to poaching, Abnett told the Pretoria News.
"Dehorning is not a solution because they are stockpiling the horns; and stockpiling is not money," she said during the anti-rhino petition campaign.
"It means you and I can go and buy horns if we want to, but we can't sell them abroad because of the international ban," she said in Centurion.
Abnett is the founder of Southern African Fight For Rhino, which is spearheading the campaign to amass 20 000 signatures to support the anti-poaching crusade.
Under the banner "This is our fight Now", the campaign was about securing the future of rhinos in the country, she said.
Through the campaign, animal rights activists will travel from city to city to conscientise people about the importance of rhinos.
Abnett said the petition was a build-up to the anti-poaching mass protest to be staged soon.
"We already have 12 000 signatures online."
"Rhinos are a critically endangered species."
"We want our children to inherit all the rhinos," she said.
Abnett believed the country was losing the fight against poaching because of the increasing number of killings.
"It is very important for South Africans to come on board in the fight against poaching," said Abnett.
The percentage of rhinos poached from January last year to April this year had increased to 28% compared to previous periods.
Based on the statistics, there were fewer than 14 000 rhinos left in the country, she said.
I was talking to a gentleman who works in the Kruger National Park and he said to me that it was much more difficult now to see rhinos than it was five years ago.
"You have to hunt for them." Another friend of mine said she went to Kruger and she saw a rhino and her baby.
"She said that in previous years you could see up to 50 rhinos clubbed together in the park."