Photo-story: Rhino Poaching


rhino_poaching stop

18 October 2012 marked a sad day in South African history: we eclipsed our 2011 record for rhino poaching, with 455 rhinos massacred this year so far. Ironically, it also marks the day that Vietnam snubbed an anti-poaching agreement with South Africa. (Read more: Vietnam snubs SA)

rhino industry

ASIAN PERSUASION: Vietnam is believed to have outgrown its Chinese neighbour in demand for rhino horn. South Africa has since banned Vietnamese hunters from entering the country. PIC: Internet

South Africa is home to 70% of the world’s rhino population (and 90% of Africa’s population), turning it into a slaughterhouse for poachers from around the world. Very poor eyesight makes rhinos easy targets.

rhino map

BLOODBATH: 333 rhinos were butchered in 2010, 454 in 2011, and over 450 and counting in 2012. PIC: Internet

Our National Parks have been turned into butchering grounds. Our museums are being robbed. Our zoos have been targeted next… All in search of the precious horn, which sells for as much as cocaine.


DOOMED CHALICE: Rhino horn cups are seen as both an art and honour in China. Dubbed as “immortal paradise,” drinking from this chalice is falsely believed to grant you long-life and insatiable libido. PIC: Internet

What drives this horrific industry? Money and sex. Each kilogram is estimated at $50 000, promising men worldwide hours of endless passion. Rhinos are not the only animals used to solve such contemporary issues: lion teeth and shark fins have been on the black-market for centuries, with shark fins being ripped off live sharks, which are thrown back into the ocean to drown or be eaten by their counterparts.

Myths associated with rhino horn:

  • It cures cancer.
  • It rids you of HIV/ Aids
  • It frightens away demons.
  • It helps with impotency and libido

The use of veterinary drugs in rhino poaching has proven that high-skilled vets are also involved. In just seven minutes, the animal will be immobilized and the horn will be axed off (often while still alive) with an axe or chainsaw.

A maimed rhino will continue to breathe via a cavity in its nasal passage, between his eyes. The hunting industry is also rumoured in being involved in rhino poaching, working together with poaching syndicates in giving them access to guns, permits, aircrafts and vehicles.

rhino killed

LAST BREATH: The rhino dies from an overdose of tranquilizers, bleeds to death or dies from infection later on. PIC: Internet

Rhinos are extremely precious creatures, in that they have a long gestation period of 16 months and cannot really leave their mothers until the age of three. She will therefore only breed every three-four years, roaming around with her calf; making them easy targets for hunters.

rhino foetus

INNOCENT BLOOD: This rhino foetus was discovered only days before being due, with its mother slaughtered by poachers in Limpopo, in February 2012. Its four-year old sibling was discovered wandering nearby in complete distress. PIC: Internet

There were originally five rhino species worldwide. South Africa’s rhinos are in demand, as it is home to the black rhino (quite rare) and the white rhino (known for its long horn).

rhino javan

BRINK OF EXTINCTION: The Javan rhino, one of three Asian species, is now rumoured to be extinct in Vietnam after the last one was found dead in October 2011, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The Indian and Sumatran rhinos make up the other Asian species. PIC: Internet

Poachers are now targeting already dehorned rhinos, as a substantial amount is still left below the skin.


WHITE VS BLACK: White rhinos weigh as much as 2.7 metric tons (5,952 pounds) while black rhinos weigh up to 1.35 tons. PIC: internet

In April, Prince William was reportedly devastated, after a black rhino was killed in the same wildlife conservancy where he proposed to Kate Middleton.

rhino prince william

WASTE OF PRECIOUS LIFE: Prince William called those involved in poaching “ignorant, selfish and utterly wrong.” PIC: internet

South Africa has tried to combat poaching in various ways, but to little avail. An average of one to three rhinos are still killed daily, ensuring their extinction by 2015. Here are some of the ways the war on poaching has been implemented:

rhino protests

FIGHTING FOR THE VOICELESS: Protests against rhino poaching took place outside Chinese embassies in South Africa in 2010. PIC: Internet

You can do your bit by visiting and purchasing a T-shirt to raise awareness and help support anti-poaching units. These units are constantly bullied, harassed, bribed or threatened for trying to save the rhino. Eishrhinos main theme of “Save the horn of Africa, save the rhino” is extremely popular.
You can also follow @helpingrhinos on Twitter, to keep up to date with the latest anti-poaching news.


Two rhinos were found mutilated last year. They miraculously survived. See how Thandi and Themba fought for survival at Kariega Game Reserve:

The Price is a feature-length documentary, examining what drives poachers to mutilate and kill. View the 5-minute trailer: The Price

The Rhino Wars, a documentary written, directed and produced by Melinda MacInnes, examines how rhino poaching has spiralled out of control, affecting all five species:


Poaching facts:

Prince William:

Rhino foetus:

Vietnam snubs agreement:

50 Shades of Sexpo South Africa


The following article was written as a news piece for… It is therefore very unusual to Chica Papillon’s usual content. Sorry for offending any readers.

Pulse boys

WET WET WET: The Pulse boys from Joburg take to the main stage after dressing up as Baywatch lifeguards. Copyright: Vanessa Smeets

One of South Africa’s most anticipated events, SEXPO (Health, Sexuality and Lifestyle Exhibition), took place this weekend, with thousands of people gathering at Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg, to see what 2012 had to offer. Normal tickets cost R199, while VIPs were selling at R299 and included a lucky packet filled with info and a naughty DVD. My friends won tickets, so I was dared to go with them. Shew…

Pulse dancer

LAP DANCE: A lucky audience member is given a personal lap-dance. Copyright: Vanessa Smeets

Interestingly, I spotted more women than men walking around. Also, you can’t help staring at certain couples: a pair was walking around completely naked, while another pair walked around in chains and latex.
The Ladies’ Lounge was by far the most popular spot for both sexes. The Pulse boys from Joburg gave their version of Magic Mike (the SA Edition), by tearing off their kits (until their thongs) in front of dozens of screaming fans. There was even a blowjob competition, where girls were ordered to ummm… suck a banana. Those too keen broke their bananas several times. Adventurous-looking girls were dragged on to the stage to be given a public lap-dance.

Mark Anthony

SLEEP! World famous hypnotist Mark Anthony unleashes a disgusting smell in audience members’ subconscious, which leaves them reeling. Copyright: Vanessa Smeets

The Pulse boys also took to the main stage, dressed as naughty schoolboys, police officers, lifeguards (to the music of Baywatch) and other delightful female fetishes.
For those a little more conservative, there were aerial artists, hypnotists (including the famous Mark Anthony from Australia), comedians and rollercoaster rides.

Stalls Nasrec Expo Centre

TASTES FOR ALL: The stalls in the main hall catered for all tastes… Copyright: Vanessa Smeets

This year included a Fetish Ball for the first time, inspired by 50 Shades of Grey… With a secluded section sealed off for whipping, lashings and “those kind of” piercings.

The main hall’s products included a variety of perfume, hair equipment, gels, creams, naughty outfits, lingerie and new devices. Several stalls, for example, were trying to sell “the menstrual cup,” which they claim is more environment-friendly than the pad and healthier to use than the tampon. You’ll have to Google how it works exactly…


TALENTED: Auzzie Pricasso, the only artist of his kind in the world, entertains audience members with his tough talent. Copyright: Vanessa Smeets

The P*ssy Room was almost full constantly, showing short films from various countries. But, to many South Africans, the films were too long to bear. Many exited the cinema during a film about a woman masturbating in public. People were also shocked by the extreme close-ups of a couple, dressed in spandex from head to toe. They cut holes in their outfits at various intervals, until the Grand Finalé.

I met people who go to Sexpo just to see “Pricasso,” a talented Australian who enjoys doing portraits of his audience, celebrities and politicians with his, yes, penis and does the final touches with his buttocks. You can get your portrait done at R300 or a double portrait of you and a friend at R400.

The Playboy Lounge was also hugely successful, selling five signed copies of the magazine at R100. Jade Fairbrother, 2012’s Playmate of the Year, was the friendliest playmate claiming my guy friends would “love me forever” if I was daring enough to get them some copies. We’ll have to see about their reactions…

Jade Fairbrother

PLAYBOY PEN: SA’s first playmate ever, Jade Fairbrother, kindly poses with us daring girls. Copyright: Vanessa Smeets