CNN – Saving South Africa’s wildlife

As incidents of rhino poaching reach unprecedented levels in South Africa, CNN Marketplace Africa asks what can be done to protect the country’s embattled wildlife heritage.

“If we can’t save one of the big five – Africa’s most charismatic species – what chance have we of protecting the smaller, less charismatic, more vulnerable species?” asks Andrew Parker, the CEO of Sabi Sands, South Africa’s oldest private reserve. He believes that conservationists were “caught napping” by criminal syndicates and are now paying the price.

Private and national game parks are facing off against “highly ingenious” and “dangerous” criminal syndicates, Julian Rademeyer, the author of Killing for Profit – Exposing the wildlife trade tells CNN’s Robyn Curnow. And unless something can be done to slow the slaughter of Africa’s rhinos, the only places we will be able to see them in the near future are zoos.

The poachers who are recruited in villages surrounding conservation areas are little more than cannon-fodder for the syndicates. Many live in impoverished communities where conditions so dire that they are prepared risk everything for a few kilogrammes of rhino horn. And the syndicate bosses, who remain untouchable in countries like Laos, Vietnam and China, reap ever-increasing returns for very little risk.

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