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Monday, 27 February 2017   /   published in Rhinos

Rhinos Have 7 Years Left in the Wild

Study of transnational flows of rhino horn give #rhinos 7 years before they go extinct in the wild.

Kruger National Park and other public and private game reserves have become battlefields where state security forces and game wardens fight for the rhinos’ survival. Despite their efforts, conservative estimates give rhinos another seven years before they go extinct in the wild. Annette Hübschle is carrying out research into why the protection of rhinos is failing.

My local roots – I grew up in Namibia – and professional networks that I groomed over a decade while working as a researcher on organized crime issues for a South African research institute proved extremely valuable for the purposes of data collection. During twelve months of fieldwork in southern Africa and Southeast Asia, I conducted more than 420 ethnographic interviews and focus groups. Among those interviewed were poachers and their bosses – so– called kingpins, most of whom come from Mozambique – convicted rhino poachers in South African jails, rogue wildlife professionals, rhino farmers, prosecutors and game wardens, community members living in Mozambican villages bordering Kruger National Park, representatives of conservation NGOs, and activists, traders, smugglers and Asian consumers. The large sample size and the use of other qualitative data such as police charge sheets and court files enabled data triangulation and verification. This is particularly important when studying illegal markets.