From my Hide: Wildlife horror stories…

David Holt-Biddle.

SEVERAL reports of what I can only describe as a conservationist’s nightmare

have landed on my desk.

They include the first ever legal sale of rhino horn, and it’s in South Africa.

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The world’s biggest rhino farmer, in North West province, is staging an Internet rhino horn auction in August in which 500 kilogrammes of it will be up for sale to buyers, including from China and Vietnam, the biggest markets for the illegal rhino horn trade.

The auction is seen to be undermining the 40-year ban on rhino horn sales and quite possibly leading to increased poaching of rhinos in the wild.

The international trade in rhino horn is still banned, so the horn will have to stay in South Africa, posing many unanswered questions.

The South African Department of Environmental Affairs has approved the sale of 800 lion skeletons to Asian markets.

Lion bone is replacing tiger bone in far Eastern markets as the tiger faces eminent extinction.

The bone is used in traditional medicine and to make tiger bone wine, which is supposed to be good for just about everything.

The bones come from farmed lions and it is feared that the sale will encourage further canned lion ‘hunts’.

The Namibian authorities have approved the capture and export of five young elephants from a Swedish owned game farm to the Dubai Safari Park, apparently eventually to be used for elephant-back rides.

At least 14 more elephants have been poisoned with cyanide in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, many had had their tusks removed.

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Hundreds of animals from Zimbabwe, including elephants, buffalo, zebra and other species, are being moved to the Zinave National Park in Mozambique as a ‘donation’.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwean wildlife is to be sold to the Congo and Gambia, where wildlife populations have been decimated by poaching.*

And a final horror story.

I wrote about the sardine run a little while ago and the fact that it is now almost a rare event.

I also wrote that the Portuguese sards we now enjoy, and we do enjoy our sards, come frozen from the Atlantic via our friendly neighbourhood fishmonger.

We also enjoy Portuguese, and South African, sardines in cans, and the other day we were having sardines on toast for supper and, as I often do I read the small print on the can, and they were the product of Poland.

Polish sardines? What is the world coming to?

But to lighten the mood, I’ve mentioned political correctness before, but here’s a new one.

Pembroke College in Cambridge in England is reviewing the menu at its student canteens because ‘ethnic minority’ students are accusing the College of ‘cultural misrepresentation’.

Why? Because they are serving up dishes called Jamaican stew and Tunisian rice which are not authentic enough.

Irritated observers have pointed out that Britain’s national dish, fish and chips, is actually that of Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe, Welsh rarebit isn’t Welsh and French toast isn’t French.**

Any comments on boerewors, I wonder?

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*Sources: the Conservation Action Trust and the Save the Elephants News Service. **The Week: The Best of the British and Foreign Media.


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David Holt-Biddle

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