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Two rhino orphans brutally killed in FOUR PAWS supported Rhino orphanage Thula Thula


FOUR PAWS calls on the South African government to forbid the export of Rhino horn and withdraw draft regulations released this week.  

Vienna/South Africa, 24.2.2017 – The international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS is shocked at the incident that occurred this week, when a heavily-armed poaching syndicate attacked the FOUR PAWS supported Fundimvelo Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage in northern Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. The poachers took the volunteer rhino caregivers hostage, mutilated  the two 18 months old rhinos Impi and Gugu and removed their horns. Gugu died outright‚ and Impy had to be euthanized the following day because of the severity of her injuries. The Fundimvelo Thula Thula Rhino orphanage  was created in 2014 with the support of the international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS and the Fundimvelo Community Trust. It offers refuge to baby rhinos who have lost their mothers to poachers.


Fiona Miles, Country Director at FOUR PAWS South Africa: ”The facility is crucial to provide orphan rhinoceroses the possibility to be rehabilitated and returned to the wild. This brutal attack on an orphanage shows once again that rhino poachers  will  stop at nothing.  Our immediate thoughts are with the whole Thula Thula team.”


The country is home to almost 80 % of Africa’s rhinos, whose fate hangs in the balance whilst the South African government hesitates to release rhino poaching statistics and rhino owners’ have to react as if in a war zone, continually sharpening efforts to protect their animals.


“We condemn this horrific incident, and demand that Rhinos are offered the highest protection by the  South African government by adopting a zero tolerance policy for poaching and retracting the draft regulations published this week proposing legal domestic trade. We strongly oppose the draft regulations, and urge the government to instead draft new regulations forbidding all export of rhinoceros horn”. 


© Thula Thula

“The proposed regulations lay the basis for a legal domestic trade in rhino horn that would allow foreigners, including those from major rhino horn consuming countries, to travel to South Africa, buy horn and export it for “personal” purposes back to their home countries.  Now more than ever we need their commitment to protecting our wildlife.” Fiona Miles concluded


The main threat to rhinos is illegal hunting for the rhino horn trade mainly to Asian markets for the use in traditional Chinese medicine and to a lesser extent as status symbols or for ornamental use. Between 2006 and 2015 more than 5000 rhinos were poached in South Africa with about 1200 animals killed annually in 2014 and 2015. On the black market the price for one kilo of rhino horn can be up to  60,000 US-Dollars which strongly drives poaching and illegal trade.


Rhino poaching is not the only cruelty wild animals face in South Africa. An excess of the strongly growing wildlife industry is the breeding  of lions  for commercial purposes. In South Africa approximately 8000 lions await a terrible fate being shot at canned hunts with their bones being legally exported to Asia for use in Traditional Chinese Medicine feeding the same markets that trigger the massive rhino poaching  with insatiable greed for horn.

© Thula Thula