New Gate for Kruger National Park

New gate for KNP raises eyebrows: The news that a new Entrance Gate and Entertainment Hub, named Shangoni, is to be built in the Kruger National Park, has been met with mixed responses. The gate is planned for the North-West of the KNP, between Giyani and Malulele. Shangoni is a Venda word meaning ‘of or for the earth’. But certain stakeholders seem to think that none of this would benefit the Earth in any way, despite the name connotation.
Grave Concern about Tourist Entertainment Hub:

Most people are gravely concerned about the ‘entertainment’ and ‘fun park’ aspect of the new development. This section of the KNP has always seen less traffic than the busy South of the Park, and is regarded as a peaceful haven for wildlife and humans enjoying solitude. There is considerably less poaching in this quiet North-Western section as well, with most of the Rhinos being killed for their horns in the South of the Park.

With the recent killing of a Cheetah by a speeding motorist, it follows that increased traffic without increased law enforcement would lead to an escalation in traffic accidents. Specifically, a surge in the number of collisions with animals as a result of speeding and increased traffic, would impact the Wildlife in the Park negatively.

Balancing Act:

"There always has to be a balance between tourism, (and opening up that niche market to locals, many who’ve never been able to afford going into the Park), and income from Tourism. In this instance, the intent is to involve local residents in the tourism industry, and provide much-needed employment. In short, looking after Wildlife costs money, and Tourism generates funding. But generating funding should never be done to the detriment of the Wildlife", says Paul Oxton (CEO/Founder of Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation)

Elephants in the Kruger National Park Photo: Paul Oxton (Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation)

A long time coming:

The Limpopo Department of Economic Development and Tourism (LEDET) announced the plans to open the new gate and tourism activity hub at a recent tour of the Park with media outlets. The MEC Economic Development, Environment and Tourism in Limpopo, Thabo Mokone, said the two projects had long been on the books of the department and were now being implemented.

Arguably the most controversial statement of Mokone’s speech is the following phrase:
“We have taken a decision as government to claim the Kruger Park.”

Mokone said the activity hub would bolster the economy in Phalaborwa. “Phalaborwa town has been anchored by the mining industry so we want the tourism sector to be a secondary encore to develop the town into an epic tourism destination.”

“I’m particularly keen to kick-start these projects because they will create employment in the provincial economy. We can’t only rely on international tourists to come to visit us. We must also rely on ourselves to visit our own country. Charity begins at home.”

A squabble between the bordering communities over exactly where the gate would be opened has caused delays, but the engagement between LEDET, SANParks and the local Municipalities are now being fast-tracked, so that the matter can be resolved.

The aim is for this project to be completed by the end of 2022.

The Park currently has 11 entrance gates: Crocodile Bridge, Malelane, Numbi, Phabeni, Phabeni Border, Paul Kruger, Orpen, Phalaborwa, Punda Maria, Pafuri and Giriyondo.

The Kruger National Park is named after former president Paul Kruger. The Park is bigger than the country of Israel, and offers a wildlife experience ranked one of the best on the African continent. It boasts 19 623km² or nearly 2 million hectares of land that stretches for 352km, and contains hundreds of historical and archaeological sites.

 

Written by Carina Crayton (Co-Founder #WHWF)

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Rhino Numbers in Kruger National Park to dip below 3000

The Rapid Slide into Extinction:
The most devastating news, as we still reminisce about #WorldRhinoDay2021.
The Daily Maverick reports:
"The new CEO of South African National Parks, said there may be fewer than 3,000 rhinos in the Kruger Park for the first time – despite the park authority spending millions on rhino protection."
In January 2021, Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation reported about the devastating losses reflected by the (then) new statistics. The total figure of White Rhinos in KNP, was listed as 3549 in 2019.
Yesterday, on 22 September 2021, #WorldRhinoDay2021, the CEO of the Kruger National Park, Dr Luthando Dziba, confirmed: 'The rhino population has declined by almost 70% over the past 10 years. This is … because of relentless poaching. We have officially released the numbers up until the 2019/2020 reporting period where basically we had 3,500 rhino.”
He stated that the country’s rhino population has declined by nearly two-thirds over the past decade and highlighted that there may now be fewer than 3,000 in the Kruger National Park for the first time.
Don Pinnock from Daily Maverick said that South Africa created loopholes that were exploited by criminal syndicates through licensing of hunting and legalising internal trade, but only shutting down of all rhino horn trade, removing loopholes and stopping mixed messaging – backed up by initiatives like the Pelly Amendment – would bring down poaching.

Dziba said, “I think another way of looking at the alarming stats… is the fact that it is possible to actually do something to basically restore the species but I think it is important to know what needs to be done to basically protect rhino in the wild.”

“We might have created loopholes… in basically legalising hunting and giving permits to international hunters and it is possible, but I think right now within the context of national parks, for instance, there has never been hunting in national parks. We are experiencing the brunt of the scourge of poaching and if you look at Kruger for instance, where our largest white rhino population is at, we experience some of the most severe poaching.”

"The fact is that Rhino Poaching is not 'just the death of a Rhino', but it is a cog in the well-oiled machined which is organized crime. With corruption being rife, mixed messages with regards to legalization of trade, and the failure of effective prosecution and convictions thrown into the mix, this is a recipe for disaster, and most of us can just watch the rapid slide into extinction with frustration and deep sadness," said Paul Oxton, Founder/CEO of Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation.

Carina Crayton (Co-Founder #WHWF)

With Thanks to Daily Maverick for the Webinar recording and original article.

#WHWF
#EthicalConservation
#StopPoaching

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Fun facts about Rhinos Learn about Rhinos here

Fun Facts about Rhinos by #WHWF

If you want to learn more about Rhinos, read on!
Did you know?
  • The name Rhino is the short form of ‘Rhinoceros, which means ‘Nose Horn
  • There are five different species of rhinoceros, three native to southern Asia and two native to Africa. They are the Black Rhinoceros, White Rhinoceros, Indian Rhinoceros, Javan Rhinoceros and Sumatran Rhinoceros.
  • The only land animal bigger than a White Rhino, is an Elephant.
  • Rhino Horn is made from Keratin, just like your fingernails and hair. Their horns are what they get killed for (poached). And it doesn’t make any sense!
  • Crash is the term for a group of Rhinos, like this below:

A Crash (Family) of Rhinos

 

  • Although they have thick protective skin, it is still sensitive. Rhinos take mud baths to serve as sunscreen and protect them against parasites. Rhino skin can be up to 5cm in thickness!
  • They can run very fast, much faster than a human when they get scared or angry, and you don’t want to be in the path of one!
  • Both Black Rhinos and White Rhinos are actually grey in colour. ‘White’ actually stemmed from the word ‘wide’, meaning flat and wide. They’re sometimes called ‘square-lipped’ Rhinos. White Rhinos eat grass and they are called grazers. Black Rhinos have a hooked lip enabling them to catch onto shrubs and eat the juicy leaves. They are called browzers.
  • Rhinos communicate through noises and poo! Baby Rhinos sound like whales when they ask for milk. Rhinos sniff their toilets called ‘middens’ to gather information about who was there. Click the Video below to watch Rhino Babies asking for Milk!

Adorable Rhino Babies asking for Milk:

  • White Rhinos are much more passive and gentle than Black Rhinos. Black Rhinos are so dangerous that they are the cause for Rhinos being included in the Big 5. (The five big, dangerous African Animals).
  • Rhinos are the oldest group of mammals, and have been around for 10 to 20 million years. They are living fossils!
  • Rhino Moms are pregnant for 15 to 16 months before giving birth. At two months old, Rhino Babies start to get weaned off milk. At three years old, Rhino Babies are fully independent. They live to between 10 and 45 years, depending on the species. A newborn Rhino should be up and walking within one hour after birth, but will remain wobbly for a few days
  • The average birth weight in Black Rhinos is 35.5 kg and 62.7 kg in White Rhinos. 
    White Rhino Mum and Baby

    White Rhino Mum with newborn Rhino Baby

     

  • Rhino babies eat their mother’s dung to acquire critical bacteria for their digestive systems to work properly.
  • Rhino Mommies and Babies are very close. In the case of Orphaned Rhino Babies, where the mothers had been killed, the little ones often die from stomach and mouth ulcers as a result of stress.
  • The Baby of a Black Rhino walks behind the Mom, and the Baby of White Rhino, in front of the Mom.
  • Their Magnificent horns are not only for show, they use them to defend themselves, to steer their babies, to dig up roots for nutrient and to test the depth of mud-holes before they wallow. If the hole is too deep they might get stuck and die.
  • To learn more about the extent of Poaching of Rhinos in the Kruger National Park, click here.
  • Did you enjoy this article? Let us know! Do you want to Help Rhinos?

Written by Carina Crayton (Co-Founder #WHWF)

"No one in the world needs a Rhino horn but a Rhino"

Paul Oxton (Founder/CEO Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation)

 

 

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Draft Policy on Lion, Leopard, Rhino and Elephant Released

BREAKING NEWS - Draft Policy on Iconic Species Management Released

The South African Government (Minister Barbara Creecy of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment - DFFE) has released the Draft Policy Document for the Conservation and Management of Lion, Leopard, Rhino and Elephant. (Full PDF document available for Download here:  Iconic Species Management)
This Draft addresses the Government's critically important position on ending the Captive Breeding of Lions in South Africa, but also includes blanket proposals with regards to Wildlife Welfare, the hunting of Wild Leopards, the Captive breeding of Rhinos for Profit, as well as the export of the iconic (Big) 5 species for the purposes of captive displays.
The entire policy document has been compiled upon the recommendations of the recent findings of the HLP (High Level Panel) enquiry into these practices.
As an Organization, Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation supports, among others, the following aspects of the Policy:
1. The immediate ban on captive lion breeding, and the closure of these facilities.
2. The ban on the export of iconic species into a life of captivity.
3. Increased awareness and practical improvement of the welfare of all wildlife.
4. Focus on decreasing captive and unnatural breeding of all iconic species, including Rhino.
5. Measures to increasingly re-wild and naturalize areas to the benefit of all people living with wildlife, all citizens of South Africa, and all Wildlife contained within our borders.
6. The One Welfare approach (as encompassed in point 5).
Included in our formal response to this draft policy, #WHWF will include our concerns over the fate of the thousands of lions currently held in captive breeding facilities.
This document is open for public comment, and it is critically important that we submit as many comments as possible. Please comment by emailing your support or concerns through to:
Contact person: Dr Kiruben Naicker
Email: knaicker@environment.gov.za
Deadline: Tuesday 27th July 2021

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Donation Tax Benefits for South African Tax Payers

Looking for a Good Cause to Support and pay less Income Tax in the Process?

Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation is a Registered NPO and PBO. All Donations by South African Corporates and Private Taxpayers are eligible for a Section 18(a) Tax Certificate, which will assist in reducing the income tax payable to SARS.

Department of Social Development/Republic of South Africa. Registration No.: 147-339 NPO
SARS Public Beneficiary Organization Registration No : 930051372 PBO

Some of our past Success Stories with regards to WHWF's use of Tax Deductible Donations include:

  1. The sponsoring of our Field Vehicle, and equipping of it for Emergency Wildlife Rescue (Private individuals and Corporates);
  2. The Purchasing of an Anaesthetic Machine and Oxygen bottle system for the Rhino Orphanage;
  3. The Equipping of Theaters for several Emergency Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers, including an Operating Table and Theater Trolley used for Pangolins;
  4. The Purchasing of Capture and Transport Cages for various species of the Wildlife Most at Risk;
  5. The Supply and Equipping of Rangers with specialized Equipment for Anti-Poaching Work;
  6. The Tagging, Tracking and Monitoring of Rhinos as an Anti-Poaching Measure and much more..

We will need the following details to issue your certificate:

  • Date and Amount of Donation,
  • Full Name of Company or Individual,
  • Registration Number of Company or ID number of Individual,
  • Registered Address,
  • Telephone Number and Contact Details (email to send PDF of Tax Certificate).
Please contact us with any questions!

If you're still unsure, please take a look at our Future Plans and Wishlist 🙂

We're available for Corporate Talks and Education!

 

CoVid19 has wreaked havoc on the world, and as a result, we have lost a lot of Corporate Support. Please consider helping our Organization survive during these trying times!

Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation is committed to #EthicalConservation and showing our Donors how their Loving Donations are spent.

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Skukuza’s Specialist Anti-Poaching Court to stay Open

After a drawn-out legal battle spearheaded by Naomi Engelbrecht, President of Mpumalanga Regional Court, the High Court has ruled against appeals to enforce the closure of the Court based in Skukuza, in the Kruger National Park.
The Skukuza Court handled the bulk of Rhino Poaching cases until an abrupt announcement in 2017 resulted in Engelbrecht transferring Rhino Poaching cases to the Mhala Court, in a move widely condemned by Anti-poaching Pole Players and Conservationists. The Skukuza Court is heralded as a specialist Anti-poaching Court.
In a Constitutional Court order issued on Monday, 1 February, Engelbrecht’s 2017 announcement to move the Rhino Poaching cases will remain invalid, and leave to appeal denied.
Engelbrecht’s decision was challenged in the North Gauteng High Court, opposed by both the Director of Public Prosecution and Mpumalanga’s High Court Judge President, but this did not prevent her from moving cases during to Mhala within two years. All of her subsequent appeals have failed.
Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation commends this ruling, and believes that this decision will greatly aid the effective prosecution of Rhino Poachers.
© Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation
Read about shocking new details with regards to KNP Rhino Poaching here:

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Shocking new Statistics indicate the true extent of Rhino Poaching in the Kruger National Park

Anyone who is a regular visitor to the Kruger National Park would be able to tell you about the Rhinos they are increasingly NOT seeing, compared to previous years.

Every Wildlife lover knows that Rhino Poaching is unlikely to ever be eradicated completely. But some bought into the illusion that we are successfully reducing Poaching. This is a dangerous misconception.

The Poaching War is not over; we are not winning, and we need to wake up to face that sobering fact.

"KNP holds the largest population of wild Rhino in the world." According to these new, shocking statistics, it seems like we'll soon reach a point where this sentence is no longer true.

Whenever official Rhino Poaching statistics are made public, it never indicates the actual population count, so you have to dig a little to get to see the real picture. Historically, any decline in Rhino Poaching numbers from one year to the next, has been heralded as a win, but the problem is that these figures were never depicted as a percentage of the total Rhino population, neither in the Kruger National Park, nor in the rest of South Africa.

If we were winning the war on poaching, the percentage of Rhino Poached against the total population would be declining (not only the actual body count of animals poached). But it’s not. It’s staying alarmingly high in Black Rhino, and has escalated uncontrollably in the case of the White Rhino.

Black Rhinos in the Kruger National Park:

Total KNP Black Rhino Population decline:

The 2011 figure (508 animals) for the KNP Black Rhino Population implies a shocking 47% decline in Black Rhino Populations in the KNP over eight years, to 268 animals in 2019. Sources here and in SanParks Report (p96).

Figure 1: Black Rhino Populations in the Kruger National Park show a 47% decline from 2011 to 2019. © Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

KNP Black Rhino Mortality as a Percentage of Total Population:

Since 2012 there has been a decline in the KNP Black Rhino mortality rate from 9.8% of the population to 9.5% in 2019. These figures include poaching and natural mortality, but because of the low population numbers of Black Rhino, this decline is not good news. It still means that the population is steadily decreasing, and that can be mostly attributed to Poaching.

*Percentages were determined by using current year mortalities as a percentage of previous year populations.

 

White Rhinos in the Kruger National Park:

Total KNP White Rhino Population decline:

For White Rhinos the situations is even more concerning: Between 2011 (10621 animals) and 2019 (3549 animals) this is a shocking 67% population decline in 8 years. Aside from a slight increase in numbers during 2015, the downward trend is a tragic testament of Rhino lives lost. Sources here, here and in SanParks Report (p96).

Figure 2: White Rhino Populations in the Kruger National Park show a 67% decline from 2011 to 2019. © Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

KNP White Rhino Mortality as a Percentage of Total Population:

The following mortality figures used to determine percentage of remaining population poached include all causes of mortality, (natural, poached and unknown) but it’s obvious that the increased mortality rates are driven by Poaching. In fact the  natural mortalities only make up 10 to 20 % of the total mortality numbers. This means that it is a safe assumption that as much as 80 to 90 % of the total deaths are due to Poaching, with a negligible percentage of deaths due to Unknown causes. (For ease of reference we have not split up the Mortality numbers further into Poaching, Natural and Unknown Deaths).

In 2012 there was a mortality rate of 1.2% of the KNP White Rhino population, escalating to a staggering 18.6% in 2019. This is the worst news, as it indicates an upward trend in the Poaching statistics, which doesn’t show up in the Official Poaching Numbers.

*Percentages were determined by using current year mortalities as a percentage of previous year populations.

Figure 3: In 2012 there was a mortality rate of 1.2% of the KNP White Rhino population, escalating to a staggering 18.6% in 2019 © Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

One has to wonder why there is not much more of an outcry about these statistics. Why is this concept not being clearly communicated to the public? Would we not need all hands on deck to fight this? Knowledge is Power, so why is this Information deliberately being withheld from the public domain?

The animals' attitude towards visitors have also changed, sometimes subtly, but there is a definite difference in observed behaviour - especially with regards to the normally docile White Rhinos. Could this be due to an increased presence of poachers? It is widely reported that "drop-poaching is a preferred strategy, where the criminals pose as day visitors, enter unhindered through the gates, and drop the poacher(s) off. The occupants of the main vehicle used would also act as "spotters" and relay the position of vulnerable Rhinos to the poachers. Whether they enter through the border, whether they have informants inside or not - their methods are becoming increasingly sophisticated in order to avoid detection. They still carry on, leaving hundreds of dead Rhinos in their wake.

 

The Official Rhino Poaching Statistics for South Africa from 2007 to 2019:

Any reduction in Rhino Poaching numbers as celebrated in the media and issued by the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs, merely points to the deeper problem – the population numbers are now so low, that it is more difficult to find animals to poach.

Rhino Poaching Statistics South Africa - 2007 to 2019 ©Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

"These figures are misleading, and they have the effect of lulling the public into complacency under the illusion that we are winning the War on Rhino Poaching. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fewer Rhinos are getting Poached because there are fewer Rhinos remaining to Poach, and therefor they are more difficult to find." (WHWF)

According to a KNP Ranger who wishes to remain anonymous, as many as 8 – 10 fully trained and equipped poaching teams are on the ground in Kruger National Park every day. These insurgents have military training, are armed to the teeth, and they shoot to kill. It is truly a war.

The Rangers on the ground put their lives in danger for our Rhinos every single day. They are the ones who deserve our gratitude for an often thankless, soul-destroying job. It is the heart-breaking reality that they are fighting a losing battle.

Every South African Citizen, and every International Visitor who cares about our Natural Heritage should actively be supporting any anti-poaching efforts, and support Organizations who do their very best to fight this war. If not for us, then for Future Generations.

It is time that we wake up, and understand the concept that we are losing our last Rhinos, faster than we ever thought possible.

Support #WHWF Anti-Poaching Efforts here: Ref #Rangers

Written by CJ Carrington ©Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

Nobody in the World needs a Rhino Horn, but a Rhino ~ Paul Oxton (WHWF)

White Rhino photographed in the KNP, several years ago. © Paul Oxton (WHWF)

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Update: Suspect Arrested! Rhino Poaching – 17 Rhino Horns Confiscated

Update: 25 January 2021 - Suspect Arrested!
Kempton Park, South Africa:

The Hawks arrested a 36-year-old man in Gauteng at the weekend for being a suspected rhino horn dealer. Kelvin Chigwede was arrested on Saturday after being found in possession of R500,000, suspected to be proceeds of illegal rhino horn dealings.

Investigations led authorities to a residence in Benoni where a search warrant was executed. Upon searching the premises, authorities found about R500,000 in cash. The Cash seized is believed to be from the proceeds of illegal dealings, related to the confiscation of more than 70kg of Rhino Horn destined for Malaysia in December 2020.

Chigwede was arrested and charged for illegally dealing in rhino horns and contravention of the National Environmental Biodiversity Act.

He appeared in the Kempton Park regional court where the case was postponed to January 26 for a formal bail application.

Read the Original Article below:

December 15th, 2020
Kempton Park, South Africa:
17 Rhino Horns were seized in sting operation when the authorities acted upon a tip-off at a warehouse in Kempton Park, close to O.R. Tambo International Airport.
The consignment seized was marked as chicken feed, with the destination listed as Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). A wooden shipping container was found to contain a large blue geyser. After grinding it open, 17 pieces of rhino horn were revealed. The horns were covered in foil - a common practice to try and avoid detection at airport scanners. The flat tops visible in some of the wrapped pieces are indicative of previous de-horning (an increasingly common anti-poaching procedure). The weight of the Rhino Horn seized is 72.4kg.
Police are currently following up on information with regards to the identity of the suspect.
According to the HAWKS (Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation), this successful operation was due to a multi-disciplinary approach and cooperation between various law enforcement agencies.
Rhino Poaching had declined substantially during South Africa's strict CoVid19 Lockdown measures, but has been steadily increasing since restrictions have been eased.

Written by CJ Carrington(WHWF) ©Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

"No-one in the World needs a Rhino Horn, but a Rhino" ~ Paul Oxton (WHWF)

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WHWF 6th Annual Xmas Support – The Rhino Orphanage

Xmas Happiness for the Rhino Babies and their Carers:
As always, we do our best to make Christmas extra special for the #WildBabies and caring Staff at The Rhino Orphanage. This year was our 6th Annual Xmas Supply Drop. With the loving care and help of our local community and our valued donors, we were able to perform some miracles during the end of what has been a most challenging year for everyone.
We have been consistent and ongoing supporters of The Rhino Orphanage for the past 5 years, and have supplied countless capital items, veterinary equipment, specialized medicines and food. This is an ongoing support project where we make sure that your donations directly reach its target.

WHWF Team Paul and Carina (CJ) getting some attention from the Rhino Orphans © Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

Working through a Wish List:

We pride ourselves on trying to procure every single item on TRO's wish-list, and this year was no different. Loads of probiotic Protexin, industrial wheelbarrows, soap of every conceivable kind, special dual rakes, many liters of disinfectant, 1000 latex gloves, facemasks for the 'new normal', and so much more!

Loads of Protexin Pro-biotics for happy Rhino tummies © Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

The Value of Consumables:

If 2020 taught us anything at all, it is the value of toilet paper, so we made sure the human 🦏 mommies have plenty of that! General soap, disinfectant and cleaning materials are always welcome too - anything that makes it easier to help the Rhino Orphans survive.

Food for the Carers, loads of cleaning supplies and the all-important Toilet paper! © Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

Crucial Equipment for Night-time Emergencies:
The girls were particularly excited about the emergency spot-light that would make night time treatment easier. The Carers received some treats too - it is after all, their job to spend countless nights next to a sick Rhino Orphan - doing their bit to help them survive!

Rechargeable Emergency Spotlight for night-time emergencies, and some snacks for the carers © Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

Specialized Veterinary Equipment:

The cherry on top of the cake is a complete telescopic pole syringe system, with every size of syringes and attachments available. This is like a syringe on steroids, enabling the treatment of an animal from about 4-5 meters away, and is particularly handy for use with dangerous or scared larger rhinos. This valuable, expensive piece of equipment is on every true Wildlife Rehab's wish list. Rehabilitating Rhinos is physical hard work. Industrial wheelbarrows help make the load a little lighter.

Complete Telescopic Pole Syringe System for dispensing treatment, and Industrial Wheelbarrows for the heavy work © Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

Wild Heart 'Santa' Bumper Supply Drop for The Rhino Orphans:
Our lives have changed irrevocably, and we have to adapt. The animals have no choice - they rely on us. We have to continue doing our best for the animals, and also helping the humans who care so much for them.
From our side, WHWF gifted The Rhino Orphanage's Arrie and Mariet Van Deventer with one of our first ever, Limited Edition Big 5 Calendars, as a small token of our appreciation for their dedication.
𝐓♥𝐇♥𝐀♥𝐍♥𝐊♥ ♥𝐘♥𝐎♥𝐔
Thank you to every single person who donated and assisted in any way.
You are all superstars, and we cannot mention anyone, because the list is too long.
Thank you for making this Xmas special for the Rhino Babies, and their carers.

The WHWF Team with Happy Carers and Happy Rhino Babies at The Rhino Orphanage ©Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

To see more of what we do for the Rhino Orphans, click here.

We rely completely on donations from the public to do our work all across Southern Africa. As always, we show you exactly what we do with your loving donations.

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Captive Lion Breeding Damages SA’s Tourism Reputation

SA’s government is ignoring red flags that the captive Lion industry is damaging the country’s reputation

Despite overwhelming worldwide opposition, including a parliamentary resolution to close down the captive lion breeding industry, SA’s government is ignoring red flags that the industry is damaging the country’s reputation and deliberating a 2020 annual trade quota for the export of lion bones.

The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) said in April that the decision for a lion bone quota has been deferred to later this year. It claims that public opposition and a 2019 court case between the minister and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA), who say breeding and trade in captive bred lion parts raises significant welfare issues, delayed determining last year’s export quota.

Wildlife trade experts say the legal trade in lion bones which is used for medicinal purposes in Southeast Asia, is fuelling an illegal market.

They say that the permit system is weak and creates loopholes for illegal wildlife trafficking, which is further impacting on wildlife conservation. An estimated 12000 captive lions exist in South Africa, while no more than 10 000 wild lions roam the continent. More than 6000 lion skeletons have been exported from South Africa since 2008.

©Paul Oxton / Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

According to department, the decision will be based on the recommendations by a panel, mandated to review policies, legislation and practices on matters related to the management, breeding, hunting, trade and handling of four iconic species, including lions.

The panel is required to provide recommendations to the minister by the end of this month. But this comes after a 2018 parliamentary committee recommended that the captive lion breeding and lion bone trade industry be closed and a High Court judgement that previous annual export lion skeleton quotas were illegal because they ignored animal welfare.

“Should DEFF issue a lion bone quota now, no matter the stockpiles that are accumulating on lion breeding farms, it will send a very clear signal that the voice of public opinion, scientific reason, and of legal judgement has been ignored and that only money and no doubt corruption matters on the issue of lion bones and captive breeding,” says Paul Funston, lion species director at Panthera, an organisation exclusively devoted  to the conservation of the world’s 40 wild cat species and their landscapes.

With international criticism, reports highlighting animal cruelty and the lack of conservation value, conservationists are questioning the minister’s motivation in considering a trade in lion bones which supports the continuation of the captive lion industry.

They say she is wasting resources when the writing is on the wall that the industry should be closed down.

“The lion breeding industry is making a few lion breeders a lot of money, but is costing Brand South Africa billions,” says Colin Bell, wildlife conservationists and founder of Wilderness Safaris.

“Not only is this industry barbaric, it is terrible for Brand South Africa and has cost South Africa many millions – even billions in lost tourist arrivals, revenues and jobs when tourists elect to rather travel elsewhere.”

©Paul Oxton / Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, over R400bn is generated by South Africa’s travel and tourism industry. This is compared to the captive lion breeding industry which supports little more than 1000 jobs.

The department claims welfare will be considered in determining this year’s quota with the engagement of welfare experts. But there are no welfare authorities sitting on the panel HLP.

The only welfare specialist on the panel, Karen Trendler, resigned and the NSPCA which received a late invite, declined membership, for reasons it won’t divulge.

Others, including the Humane Society Africa and environmental lawyer, Cormac Cullinan, also declined membership stating the panel was weighted with parties invested in the commercial use of wildlife and wildlife body parts and had no interest in welfare.

Despite the existence of animal welfare legislation in South Africa, it lacks adequate representation and enforcement. While the department is mandated to oversee biodiversity conservation, animal welfare falls under the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), which in turn routinely passes the buck to the NSPCA, a non-government body tasked with enforcing the Animal Protection Act, but which receives no state funding.

With limited welfare enforcement, over 450 breeding facilities capitalise, unhindered, on breeding lions for hunting and trade. Many of these facilities pose as lion conservation centres or sanctuaries but on closer inspection are more akin to lion factories.

Lion conservation experts say breeding lions in captivity has no conservation value. In a statement, the Endangered Wildlife Trust says: “The captive keeping and breeding of large carnivores does not contribute to carnivore conservation in South Africa.

“There are nationally and internationally recognised conservation plans for cheetahs, lions, wild dogs and leopards and none of them identify captive breeding as a required conservation action.”

Recently, studies have shown that lion breeding farms are a “hotbed” for zoonotic diseases.

report says captive lions carry a range of harmful pathogens, including Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

With many lion farms offering cub petting and walking, these facilities are posing a real threat to tourists and staff.

By Melissa Reitz 

New Gate for Kruger National Park

New gate for KNP raises eyebrows: The news that a new Entrance Gate and Entertainment Hub, named Shangoni, is to be built in the Kruger National Park, has been met with mixed responses. The gate is planned for the North-West of the KNP, between Giyani and Malulele. Shangoni is a Venda word meaning ‘of or […]

Rhino Numbers in Kruger National Park to dip below 3000

The Rapid Slide into Extinction: The most devastating news, as we still reminisce about #WorldRhinoDay2021. The Daily Maverick reports: “The new CEO of South African National Parks, said there may be fewer than 3,000 rhinos in the Kruger Park for the first time – despite the park authority spending millions on rhino protection.” In January […]

Fun facts about Rhinos Learn about Rhinos here

Fun Facts about Rhinos by #WHWF

If you want to learn more about Rhinos, read on! Did you know? The name Rhino is the short form of ‘Rhinoceros, which means ‘Nose Horn’ There are five different species of rhinoceros, three native to southern Asia and two native to Africa. They are the Black Rhinoceros, White Rhinoceros, Indian Rhinoceros, Javan Rhinoceros and […]

Draft Policy on Lion, Leopard, Rhino and Elephant Released

BREAKING NEWS – Draft Policy on Iconic Species Management Released The South African Government (Minister Barbara Creecy of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment – DFFE) has released the Draft Policy Document for the Conservation and Management of Lion, Leopard, Rhino and Elephant. (Full PDF document available for Download here:  Iconic Species Management) […]

Southern Africa’s Ivory

The values of Zimbabwe’s and Namibia’s ivory stockpiles have been grossly overstated, and their proposed sale would lead to another poaching epidemic. Last year the world reacted in shock when Namibia announced plans to auction off 170 live elephants to the highest bidder. Despite criticism, the plans have continued to move forward — and that […]

Donation Tax Benefits for South African Tax Payers

Looking for a Good Cause to Support and pay less Income Tax in the Process? Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation is a Registered NPO and PBO. All Donations by South African Corporates and Private Taxpayers are eligible for a Section 18(a) Tax Certificate, which will assist in reducing the income tax payable to SARS. Department of […]

Skukuza’s Specialist Anti-Poaching Court to stay Open

After a drawn-out legal battle spearheaded by Naomi Engelbrecht, President of Mpumalanga Regional Court, the High Court has ruled against appeals to enforce the closure of the Court based in Skukuza, in the Kruger National Park. The Skukuza Court handled the bulk of Rhino Poaching cases until an abrupt announcement in 2017 resulted in Engelbrecht […]

Update: Suspect Arrested! Rhino Poaching – 17 Rhino Horns Confiscated

Update: 25 January 2021 – Suspect Arrested! Kempton Park, South Africa: The Hawks arrested a 36-year-old man in Gauteng at the weekend for being a suspected rhino horn dealer. Kelvin Chigwede was arrested on Saturday after being found in possession of R500,000, suspected to be proceeds of illegal rhino horn dealings. Investigations led authorities to […]

WHWF 6th Annual Xmas Support – The Rhino Orphanage

Xmas Happiness for the Rhino Babies and their Carers: As always, we do our best to make Christmas extra special for the #WildBabies and caring Staff at The Rhino Orphanage. This year was our 6th Annual Xmas Supply Drop. With the loving care and help of our local community and our valued donors, we were […]

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