Safari Club International (SCI) condemns the recent poaching of white rhinoceros in South Africa committed by criminals posing as legitimate hunters. This elaborate impersonation scheme has allowed several poachers to obtain rhino hunting permits, then put the rhino horn into the illegal commercial trade.
SCI President Dr. Lawrence Rudolph applauds the new laws that the South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Buyelwa Sonjica, has introduced to deal with this and pledged SCI's support to raise awareness of this issue. "We call upon the officials of other governments, both those that may be involved in the export of the illegal rhino parts and those on the importing end, to work closely with South Africa to put an end to this trade and upon hunt outfitters to report any suspicious approaches to the authorities," said Dr. Rudolph.
Dr. Rudolph also expressed support for the statement by Peter Butland, the President of the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA), that likewise condemned this illegal practice. The PHASA statement noted Butland's "extreme concern" about legitimate hunting being associated in any way with poaching and illegal trade.
Dr. Rudolph went on to explain that funds from legitimate hunters who have taken white rhinos legally in South Africa for many years have led to a resurgence of the white rhinos in that country. "Legitimate hunters are proud to have been a part of bringing this great animal back from the brink of extinction," Dr. Rudolph said, "and SCI does not want to see established international conservation work and the good name of the hunting community spoiled by criminals posing as hunters."