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Rhino poaching – are we losing the war?

Fuelled by an insatiable market in Vietnam and China, close to 2000 rhinos have been slaughtered in South Africa since 2006. Rhino horns, which are made of a fingernail-like substance, are hacked off, ground down, sold for profit and used as a traditional “cure” for almost anything – from fevers, to cancer, to impotence.

What does the future hold for our rhinos? Wild Talk Africa, the largest international wildlife and natural history film festival and conference in Africa, will host a public debate on the topic, during this year’s festival, which is currently being held at Docklands Hotel in Durban. Featuring Julian Rademeyer, author of Killing for Profit, wildlife film producers, conservation organisations and on-the-ground rangers, the public debate, being held on Thursday, 25 July at 10:30am, will focus on the billion-dollar black market industry. Threaded into the debate will be an honest observation on the impact of the media hype and film coverage in the war against rhino poaching.

“Poaching syndicates operate under the radar, flying unmarked helicopters or operating on foot. To fight back a variety of tactics have been used; from unmanned military drones, to personal bodyguards and even poison, injected directly into the horn itself. Every weapon has been drawn, aimed and fired, including the cameras,” Director of Wild Talk Africa, Donfrey Meyer said.

Alongside Wildscreen in the UK and Jackson Hole in the States, Wild Talk Africa has firmly established itself as one of the top three natural history film festivals in the world. Saving Rhino Phila, a film which looks at a new breed of poachers that have declared war on South Africa’s rhino trade has been nominated in two Roscar categories. The rhino Oscars, as the Roscars have affectionately become known, will recognise excellence in documentary filmmaking at a red carpet event being held on 25 July at the Sibaya World of Entertainment as part of the Wild Talk Africa festival programme.

The four-day event takes place concurrently with the Durban International Film Festival; “Combined with the continent’s two major film festivals – the Durban International Film Festival and the Durban Film Mart, Durban Wild Talk Africa firms up a truly strong film industry package for visitors, both local and international,” Head of Durban Tourism Philip Sithole said of the city’s greater vision to build Durban’s “golden mile” as a hub for film market activity in the month of July.

The public is invited to attend the debate being held at Docklands Hotel. Alternatively to show your support in the fight against rhino poaching SMS 40706 – R20 per sms. All money raised from the SMS campaign will go to the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa rhino fund.

ENDS

Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications:

Beverley Houston

beverley@be-cause.co.za

082 824 8617 / 021 462 1723

 

On behalf of Durban Wild Talk Africa:

Director: Donfrey Meyer

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