South Africa is home to the majority of the world's last remaining wild rhinos being hunted down and butchered for their horn in order to feed the insatiable demand for status symbols in Asia.
According to a recent report by the Conservation Action Trust, the country's conviction rate for rhino poachers last year was a pitiful 15 percent.
Throughout my time working across Zululand game reserves in the KwaZulu-Natal province the same names kept cropping up of defence lawyers and magistrates responsible for this.
(Supplied / Saving the Wild)
When I started looking deeper into the various rhino poaching cases in Zululand I began to see a pattern; when a certain magistrate was residing and a particular lawyer was defending an accused on charges related to rhino poaching, the poacher would be let off with a fine and no jail time.
In Kruger (Skukuza) courtrooms the sentences overall are much harsher, most often with bail denied and sentences up to 30 years.
I have already published case numbers and written about this pattern extensively on my website savingthewild.com, but really in this cesspit of corruption that is driving the rhino into extinction, a prehistoric species that has roamed our planet for 50 million years and can survive anything but human greed, I have only just begun to scratch the surface.
South Africa's Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has opened up a preliminary investigation into corruption enabling rhino poaching (Supplied / Saving the Wild)
In April this year the revered Public Protector of South Africa, Thuli Madonsela, accepted the case I put forward to her and opened up a preliminary investigation into corruption enabling rhino poaching. It was a resurgence of hope for a conservation community suffering from fatigue.
If South Africa does not seriously start to tackle corruption we will lose the war on poaching.
Jamie Joseph is a wildlife activist and the founder of Saving the Wild, a registered New Zealand charity raising money for an anti-corruption fund to expose and eliminate corruption that is enabling rhino poaching. Visit savingthewild.com to support the cause and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.