Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A reversal on the rhino poaching debacle?

In the early months of this year, as I have documented in a number of posts, it has been shown that the Vietnamese government has played a major role in the recent rhinoceros poaching epidemic in southern Africa that is severely threatening these species.

Now, however, after relatively minor attempts to apprehend poachers in South Africa, which holds the vast majority of surviving rhinoceroses, is news that the governments of South Africa and a seemingly reformed Vietnam are going to sign a deal to stop the poaching of rhinoceroses for their horn.

The deal encompasses:
  1. sharing details of rhinoceros hunts involving Vietnamese citizens
  2. bilateral cooperation to investigate presumably uninvestigated crimes by Vietnamese citizens
  3. education in Vietnam on the endangered status of rhinoceroses
One hopes that the formerly Stalinist government of Vietnam really is sincere about doing something to stop poaching of endangered rhinoceroses. The trouble is that so many governments have the problem of people like rhinoceros poachers donating money in such a manner that one is hard pressed to tell whether it is legal or not. More than that, the Herald Sun suggests that only mass political pressure has caused the South African government to do anything about the Vietnamese government’s purchase of rhinoceros products. If public pressure eases, then it is easy to see how rhinoceroses could be killed in even greater numbers than is occurring at present, even with treaties between the two nations’ governments firmly in place.

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