In celebration of the work of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) to end rhino poaching the organisation hosted two events ahead of World Rhino Day in partnership with Meredale Primary School in Mondeor and Louw Geldenhuys Primary school in Linden on the 21st of September. These featured a demonstration by Rico and Renaldo, two contraband sniffing canines, on the training and operational aspects of detecting rhino horn; Rhino Project Manager, Kirsty Brebner, delivered a presentation on the crucial work of our Rhino Orphan Response Project; and the festivities ended with a Find and Save the Rhino Treasure Hunt with prizes for the successful teams.
As at the 11th of September 2012, 381 rhino had been poached in South Africa since the beginning of the year, according to the department of environmental affairs. Driving the rise in rhino poaching is the belief that it is considered to be a low risk - high reward activity with an increasingly affluent market for rhino horn in the east. In response to this the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is implementing a range of projects which elevate the risk associated with poaching to dissuade would-be-poachers.
The rhino poaching crisis has demonstrated that there is no single solution to addressing illegal wildlife trade and often has its roots in organised, trans-boundary crime. According to Kirsty Brebner, the EWT's Rhino Project Manager, "The EWT is implementing interventions at several stages in the poaching and wildlife trade chain, including the deployment of highly trained sniffer dogs at various ports of entry and exit, the training of airport and border control officials on correct procedures to follow when dealing with wildlife smuggling cases and the EWT's Rhino Orphan Response Project, which rescues and rehabilitates the victims and orphans of poaching."