The truth behind rhino horn smuggling in South Africa

The rhino poaching epidemic in Africa has reached an alarming point that the brutal operation 
now takes less than one hour to execute and at least five hours to smuggle the horn out of the
country, a Journalist told to CNBC Africa on Tuesday.

“Absolutely I think at the moment what’s happening is that a lot of people are forming up strategies
in order to combat poaching. Poaching itself is getting far more advanced than it used to be a couple
of years ago,” a Forbes Africa Photo Journalist Jay Caboz said.

Caboz recently embarked on a journey to unearth the truth behind rhino horn poaching focusing on
the business aspect in fighting the illegal trade, dubbed “The Rhino Crusaders.” His investigation, as
published on the business magazine, revealed shocking findings about rhino horn trade in Africa.

“These days all you have is an hour to catch a poacher before another rhino dies. In five hours, a
horn can be over the border on a plane. These are the hard facts drawing private money to a brutal
game to save the rhino,” Caboz was quoted on the article titled “Who Fight By Moonlight.”

“What we wanted to investigate was a more business side of, it costs 20 thousand rand to man a
two-men unit - just one two-men unit and it’s the sort of thing that’s escalating all the time and
with more militarisation coming into the play its becoming a big business.”

Caboz said a lot is being done to combat the epidemic which involves tracking and catching a poacher
before execution. He said anti-poaching militants have adapted to catching-up with organised poaching
schemes in order to save the world's most sought-after species.

“Other forms of prevention have moved on from infrared, night vision photography like CCTV cameras
and all sorts of different methods as well as foot patrols, security vehicles game fences and when you
look at the sorts of areas this guys have to travel it’s amazing,” he added.

The world rhino population is reported to have fallen by more than 90 per cent in the past 30 years.
Today, only 5 species remain and all of them are threatened in some way. This year alone, South Africa
has lost more than 400 rhinos to poaching, while a total of 129 people arrested.

“If you look at the numbers from last year they were about 628 rhinos that were killed in the period so the
trend is definitely outstanding and growing up,” he added.