4 min read

Dear South Africa, We Aren't Convinced You Really Want To Save Rhinos

<p>Hein waschefort / <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:White_rhino_and_young.jpg" target="_blank">Wikimedia Commons</a> (<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en" target="_blank">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>)</p>

Dear Ms. Edna Molewa, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, South Africa:

We are a US-based non-profit dedicating efforts to secure a future for the world's rhino. Half-way across the world, and not part of the all-important "South African" voters. But concerned citizens of the world none-the-less.

We understand very well that the issue of wildlife poaching will not be easily or quickly solved. It is a multi-faceted issue involving anti-poaching strategies, education in Asian communities, and legal commitment from various countries. It is the last part of this puzzle which perhaps is the most frustrating.

Legal commitment can only be changed, affected or implemented by governments. Being home to the majority of the world's remaining rhinos, it is South Africa's responsibility and obligation to set the tone by enacting strict regulations, restrictions and ultimately consequences to combat poaching.

Legal trade has been an agenda on the table in your office for a lengthy amount of time. Without getting into all the of usual points of debate (as I'm sure you're aware), ultimately it is not something agreeable by CITES or much of the general public. It has also been historically shown as a dismal failure in the past when after the last "legal" trade on ivory occurred, poaching had actually risen. Repeating the same action bears the probability of devastating consequences to remaining rhino and elephant populations.

We recently sent you a tweet on the matter, only to be blocked. Tell me how we are to have faith in your government's system when a simple tweet offends/upsets/annoys you? We are upset, we are passionate, and we only want answers.

On behalf of Fight for Rhinos, we support Terri Stander's request to receive updated information on poaching arrests and convictions.

Too much has been denied, hidden, changed and twisted in the news to convince us that the government is doing what is in the best interest of wildlife. Yes, you have South African issues, but this is a world issue. And the world needs its wildlife. Firstly it is about the rhinos, but it also about the elephants, lions, and the entire environment. As Minister of Environmental Affairs, surely you must understand the importance of it all.

Please explain why the government continues to pursue trade ... what is actually being done, not just talked about? What can the world do to help you?

Sincerely, Tisha Wardlow
Fight for Rhinos