Saturday, February 05, 2005

NORTHERN WHITE RHINO - Evacuation called off!

In this heartbreaking development, we learned today that the evacuation of some of the remaining wild Northern White Rhino (believed to be less than 10) has been called off, ostensibly due to mis-informed government officials. Full story over at Reuters.com:
Five rare white rhinos due to be airlifted out of lawless northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo before poachers wipe them out must stay put, the government said on Saturday, infuriating conservationists.

'This country has to show that it is a sovereign nation able to protect its own wildlife as well as its own people and its cultural heritage,' Information Minister Henri Mova Sakanyi said. 'The ministers of tourism and of the environment have decided that the animals must stay.'
[...]
One conservationist based in Kinshasa, who asked not to be named said, 'The tourism ministry has done nothing to help the rhinos so I am quite curious as to how people who have had nothing to do with it now think they can turn things around'
[...]
'It is ridiculous misinformation and stirring up of public opinion (by the government). It is just a rescue operation, nothing more,' said another Congo wildlife expert.
This is disastrous news, and utterly infuriating!