OSCAP was a facebook group that was started in mid 2011 when the Rhino poaching problem in South Africa reached epidemic proportions. Within the first couple of months membership soared and various initiatives were undertaken to bring about worldwide attention to the poaching crisis.
Members of OSCAP were encouraged to use pre-drafted letters to send to South African Government Ministers, International Wildlife Organisations, overseas Governments, Newspapers and International Media etc. This was followed by doing on the ground protests at the Chinese Embassy, peaceful awareness campaigns in city centres and attending court cases of alleged poaching demanding no bail and tougher sentences.
Due to the rapid growth of OSCAP over a very short period of time it necessitated registering OSCAP as a non-profit organisation to enable us to function and perform our work more efficiently and effectively.
We work closely with other Rhino groups, NGO’s, local and International Wildlife agencies as well as local and provincial government departments in order to assist where ever possible.
Issues that have been our focus of attention are the Rhino hunting permitting system which has been abused by many individuals, hunting outfitters and foreign individuals with the end result being that of the 200 odd permits that were issued during 2011 only 15 of those were legitimate hunts. The permitting system is a complicated matter as the different provinces in South Africa are different from National regulations and this has caused a problem not only with loopholes but also has allowed corruption to creep into the permit offices.
One of the most pressing issues we believe is getting a census done on the White Rhino population in South Africa. This is long overdue and we believe that until such time as a census is done the Department of Environmental Affairs can and should not make any decisions on a strategic way forward to protect the future of our Rhino.
Education and awareness are also top of our agenda and we have formed close relationships with key players to ensure that we assist where ever we can to assist in educating not only local communities about the crisis that we face but also to assist in spreading the word to key international destinations in Asia via schools and wildlife organisations.
We believe that there is no single solution to this problem and that all the tools that are available to us should be used to stop the poaching. These tools include but are not limited to:
- Top notch security
- Rhino horn treatment – administered by Rhino Rescue Project
- De-horning – only where absolutely necessary when no other alternatives are available.
- Education and awareness
- Increased sentences for people found guilty of Wildlife offences
- No bail for suspects