Traditional healers to help fight poaching
The Kruger National Park and traditional health practitioners have joined forces to stamp out the use of muti in rhino poaching.
Muti is a term for traditional medicine made from natural products, often from trees or other plants. Practitioners believe muti offers special powers or protection, and it seems the practice is being abused by rhino poachers.
"A lot of the suspects that have been arrested [for poaching] have alluded that they use muti to avoid detection by rangers and dangerous animals," said Abe Sibiya, managing executive for the Kruger National Park.
On Friday 31 August 2012, over 500 traditional health practitioners from Limpopo and Mpumalanga gathered at Skukuza soccer stadium to take a stand against rhino poaching. The healers hope to reduce the incidence of poaching and have pledged not to supply muti to any potential poacher. "This pact means that no criminal or poacher will get any muti," Sibiya explained. "We all need to defend our heritage with everything we have."
Headed by Dr Sylvester Hlati, this initiative is the first of its kind and sees communities bordering Kruger speak out against rhino poaching.
Dr Sylvester Hlati watches as ranger Don English performs a ritual during the traditional health practitioners' event at Skukuza stadium.