Monday, 26 August 2013

How should we treat rhinoceros poachers?

Today, after a long and depressing run of severe failures in the fight against the poaching of rhinoceroses in Southern Africa, it is refreshing to note that some progress has been made to deal with the poachers.

Dineo Mphalehle of EWN says that three poachers have been shot dead in Kruger National Park, in a year that has seen 362 rhinoceroses, or two percent of the total world population of five species, shot dead there. In Mozambique, a country much poorer that South Africa, Namibia or Botswana, there has been similar success finding probable rhinoceros poachers.

With the large number of rhinoceroses killed in Southern Africa in recent decades, it is tempting to think that there is justice in shooting poachers, although there is by no means one hundred percent certainty that in fact those shot dead were actually critical to the success of rhinoceros poaching in recent years.

If Southern Africa could become organised enough, it could treat definite rhinoceros poachers very severely, with life imprisonment without parole a fair punishment for such egrerious crimes against wildlife that is extremely valuable on many grounds. The question is how its political system is to do this, and whether what is actually done may be more practical?

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