Emmy-award-winning filmmakers Derek and Beverly Joubert have stalked big game for years – with cameras — for beautiful National Geographic specials. Now they are staking claim to create a future for South Africa’s dwindling rhino population with “Rhinos without Borders,” an initiative they started to translocate breeding females and bulls to Botswana – in order to save them. Interview on Day Six (CBC)
Last year was a record year in rhino poaching – 1,000 killed in South Africa by poachers who treat them like gold. Rhino poaching gallery. A rhino horn can bring up to $65,000 per kilo – more valuable than gold or cocaine – and deeply sought after in China and Viet Nam for traditional “medicine” that supposedly can cure everything from arthritis to waning libido. At this rate rhinos in South Africa will reach extinction within a decade, says Derek Joubert.
Why Botswana? According to the Jouberts, there is political will, a substantial amount of preserved wild lands, and less corruption than in other African countries. Botswana also has a shoot-to-kill law if poachers are caught killing animals. Derek Joubert notes that some African leaders have wised up about a continent without wildlife. “ If we get to a point where we don’t have lions, elephants and rhinos any more, everything else starts unravelling. For example, there’s an $80-billion a year eco-tourism model into Africa.”
Here’s the hitch: It costs $45,000 to relocate each rhino, a process that includes selection, capture, medical review, air transportation, and security. Apparently white rhinos can adapt quickly to new surroundings, black rhino less so and require on-the-ground care for several weeks after they have arrived. Best of all, they will be released in secret locations and microchipped to i.d. their movements. Article in Huffington Post