Target: Jacob Zuma, South African President
Goal: Applaud South Africa’s sentence of a rhino poacher to prison for 77 years
South Africa is beginning to take legal action to curb poaching. Recently, Mandlan Chalke was sentenced to 77 years in prison for poaching rhinoceroses. Before his arrest, he was targeting rhinos for their horns, which can be sold for a lot of money. The country is realizing how deleterious the effects of poaching are, both on the rhinos and on tourism. Rhinos are a huge selling point of South Africa, and if people around the world know that the state is tolerating the poaching of rhinos, they will be less inclined to travel to South Africa.
Kruger Park — where many poachers go, because they can cross into Mozambique — has become particularly problematic in terms of poaching. Recently, two men from Mozambique came into South Africa and also killed a rhino. They were recently also sentenced in South African prison, to sixteen years each. Mandlan Chalke is doing more time because of his particular case — in addition to killing two rhinos, he got into an altercation with a guard and one of his accomplices was shot. Because of this, he is going to jail for the killing of two rhinos and of one person.
Either way, both of these examples demonstrate that the country is becoming more serious about rhino poaching. These two sentences come on the backs of years of almost no repercussions for poaching. This year, 62 people have been arrested for the poaching of rhinos, which is a huge increase. And it’s a good move — South Africa has 70% of the world’s rhinos and they lost 1,004 rhinos to poaching just in 2013. The South African government is hoping that these arrests will become a deterrent to other potential poachers, and will show that the state is standing up for the rhinos. Sign this petition to support the South African government in its efforts to stop poaching and support animal welfare.
Dear President Zuma,
Thank you for taking a stronger stance against rhino poaching. It is good to see that your country as a whole is cracking down on poaching. Obviously, this act is so horrible for the rhino population. But, it is also horrible for the economy. It creates a thriving black market that kills the tourism market.
With South Africa contained 70% of the world’s rhinos, it is really the major protector of rhinos as well. For an animal population that is so small, that is really quite the responsibility. We thank South Africa for finally taking the challenge. These first few arrests and sentences are setting a precedent for what is to come.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: MCA73bot2 via Wikimedia Commons