Wildlife crime and rhino poaching in South Africa: a qualitative document analysis of patterns and frequency of visitations of adventurers

Keywords: Cell phone data analysis, Environmental crime, KZN Wildlife reserve, Rhino poaching, Wildlife crime, Wildlife trafficking

Abstract

The study describes rhino poaching as an illicit anti-social behaviour that has constantly been on increase in South Africa. Predominantly, KwaZulu-Natal, and specifically Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, became a highly protected zone for biota and wildlife sustainability. However, with environmental crime becoming more sophisticated in this province, criminal justice and anti-poaching teams need to be more equipped continuously with the necessary tools and strategies, required to stand united against wildlife crime. The study adopted document analysis to explore the use of cell phone data records as a forensic investigative instrument for tracing the frequency and patterns of activities of the two largest syndicate groups of rhino poachers from Mpumalanga and Winterveld to Hluhluwe-imfolozi park. Findings unfolded that cell phone records are a viable cellular geographic tool for tracing the footprints, patterns of movement and activities of illegal rhino hunters, affecting the poaching levels at Hluhluwe-imfolozi Park. The study’s findings were incredibly insightful into the behavioural activities of poachers, being one of the first to broaden the lens of cell phone data analysis on this scale. Evidence from the movement analysis revealed that poaching depends on a multitude of factors, such as global pandemic, border control measures, poaching levels rising in reserves, decreased policing measures and a lack of proactive strategies. The study concludes that cell phone data records, considered in isolation, cannot be reflected upon accurately, as a panacea for wildlife crime, without supporting facts from police procedure of intelligence gathering, local knowledge and partnership with local communities. Lastly, within the specific study area, it allows a unique view and perspective of the travel patterns of very sophisticated and advanced syndicate groups, as well as creating room for additional deeply rooted studies of poaching activity and incursions in South Africa.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Kajal Singh, Environment House

Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

Sogo Angel Olofinbiyi, University of Venda

Department of Criminal Justice

School of Law

References

Agu, H. U., Gore, M. L. (2020). Women in wildlife trafficking in Africa: A synthesis of literature. Global Ecology and Conservation, 23, e01166. doi: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2020.e01166

Mcmurray, C. (2009). Wildlife trafficking: U.S. efforts to tackle a global crisis. Natural Resources & Environment, 23 (3), 16–18.

Buij, R., Nikolaus, G., Whytock, R., Ingram, D. J., Ogada, D. (2015). Trade of threatened vultures and other raptors for fetish and bushmeat in West and Central Africa. Oryx, 50 (4), 606–616. doi: http://doi.org/10.1017/s0030605315000514

Stop the Demand (2022). African Wildlife Foundation. Available at: https://www.awf.org/stop-demand

Okori, J. (2020). African rhinos. Worldwide Fund for Nature. Available at: https://wwf.panda.org/discover/knowledge_hub/endangered_species/rhinoceros/q_a_joseph_okori/

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park (HiP) (2022). Wildlife ACT. Available at: https://www.wildlifeact.com/about-wildlife-act/reserves-we-work-on/hluhluwe-imfolozi-game-reserve/

Sterne, M. (2015). The History of Rhino Poaching in South Africa. Rhino Africa Blog. Available at: https://blog.rhinoafrica.com/2015/09/22/history-rhino-poaching-south-africa/

Somverville, K. (2017). Wave of rhino killings points to shifting poaching patterns in South Africa. The Conversation. Available at: https://theconversation.com/wave-of-rhino-killings-points-to-shifting-poaching-patterns-in-south-africa-77806

Minnaar, A., Herbig, F. (2018). The impact of conservation crime on the South African rural economy: A case study of rhino poaching. Acta Criminologica: African Journal of Criminology & Victimology, 31 (4), 147–168.

Ferreira, J., Joao, P., Martins, J. (2012). GIS for crime analysis: Geography for predictive models. Electronic Journal of Information Systems Evaluation, 15 (1), 36–49.

Chainey, S., Tompson, L., Uhlig, S. (2008). The Utility of Hotspot Mapping for Predicting Spatial Patterns of Crime. Security Journal, 21 (1-2), 4–28. doi: http://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.sj.8350066

Schmitz, P., Cooper, A. (2007). Using mobile phone data records to determine criminal activity space. IQPC International GIS Crime Mapping Conference. Brussels, 1–29.

Frey, B. (2018). The Sage encyclopedia of educational research, measurement, and evaluation. Thousand Oaks: SAGE. doi: http://doi.org/10.4135/9781506326139

Drisko, J., Maschi, T. (2015). Content analysis. Oxford University Press. doi: http://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190215491.001.0001

Summers, L., Johnson, S. D. (2016). Does the Configuration of the Street Network Influence Where Outdoor Serious Violence Takes Place? Using Space Syntax to Test Crime Pattern Theory. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 33 (2), 397–420. doi: http://doi.org/10.1007/s10940-016-9306-9

Nan, J. (2015). A crime pattern analysis of the illegal ivory trade in China. (TEC Working Paper 1-2015). Canberra: Australian National University. Available at: https://ir.bellschool.anu.edu.au/experts-publications/publications/4450/crime-pattern-analysis-illegal-ivory-trade-china

Andresen, M. A. (2014). Environmental criminology: Evolution, theory, and practice. London: Routledge.

Stanisławski, B. H. (2011). Global black spots: Threats from governance without governments. The National Strategy Forum Review, 20 (3), 1–5.


👁 27
⬇ 20
Published
2022-07-29
How to Cite
Singh, K., & Olofinbiyi, S. A. (2022). Wildlife crime and rhino poaching in South Africa: a qualitative document analysis of patterns and frequency of visitations of adventurers. EUREKA: Social and Humanities, (4), 113-122. https://doi.org/10.21303/2504-5571.2022.002503
Section
Law