* This refers to Clever Panda which does not seem to be a copyrighted image or idea but seems to have risen organically and its paw prints are all over the web to become like a meme.
In a 23 February column in Politicsweb, Andrew Donaldson suggested that to save the Rhino from the depredations caused by the Chinese quack remedy industry, we should just reclassify them as Pandas – an eminently innovative approach. At least the Rhino is hornier than the Panda so breeding back their numbers should be a doddle. Andrew’s sentiment prompted today’s whimsical cartoon.
Unfortunately, the facts on the ground are not whimsy. In the decade, 2011 to 2020, about 6800 Rhino were slaughtered at a rate of just under 2 per day.
One of the reasons for the dramatic rise of zooicidal killings, from insignificant numbers prior to 2007, was the advent to the throne by the ANC’s very own Rhino, the horny, thick-skinned and throwback Zuma who was allowed to preside over the country without adult supervision. Replacing the successful Scorpions with the ineffectual Hawks, the general hollowing out of the Police, together with the very important division of Crime Intelligence and repurposing of the State Security for his own ends, gave carte blanche to parasitic poachers.
In general, the blame should also be laid at the door of the ANC and their brother liberation movements in neighbouring countries whom they refuse to criticise. The steadily worsening economic conditions in the region and South Africa in particular and the concomitant increasing unemployment has led people to take desperate measures – poaching is one of those.
Many approaches have been tried – like dehorning – but with limited success. Perhaps Andrew Donaldson is right and we have to think out the box – Priscilla has.