Kiwi woman risks life exposing rhino poachers

(Supplied / Saving the Wild)
(Supplied / Saving the Wild)

A Kiwi woman believes she's in serious danger after exposing an alleged rhino horn trafficker in South Africa.

Jamie Joseph has been travelling in Africa collecting success stories about rhino and elephant conservation.

But she says none of it will save Africa's rhinos unless corruption is stamped out and the poachers and traffickers are sent to jail.

Outside a courthouse in South Africa, Ms Joseph was confronted by a man charged with trafficking rhino horn.

Kiwi woman risks life exposing rhino poachers

(Supplied / Saving the Wild)

"He just kept repeating, 'How can you do this, why are you doing this to me?'," she says.

"I just looked at him and said, 'I'll stop writing stories about you when you stop killing rhinos'."

The Zimbabwean-born New Zealander has been campaigning against poaching through her website SavingTheWild.com, writing about people she believes are slipping through South Africa's judicial system.

It's alleged the man, who we're choosing not to name for legal reasons, has profited from the horns of 200 rhinos.

Despite also being charged with attempted murder, he was released on bail of just NZ$1000.   

Kiwi woman risks life exposing rhino poachers

(Supplied / Saving the Wild) 

"Why did he even get bail in the first place? And why was the bail so low?" Ms Joseph asks.

"We need to overhaul the entire system really and we need to stamp out corruption, because if we don't stamp out corruption we will lose this war."

South Africa's war on rhino poaching has been losing ground rapidly since 2000. Back then, only 13 rhinos were killed.

That number escalated to a record 1215 in 2014 and 1175 in 2015.

A report by Conservation Action Trust says the country convicted only 15 percent of alleged poachers last year.

Kiwi woman risks life exposing rhino poachers

South Africa's Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has opened up a preliminary investigation into corruption enabling rhino poaching (Supplied / Saving the Wild)

Many were given fines, unlike other states in Africa where lengthy jail sentences are handed down.

Ms Joseph believes she's now in danger and has stepped up her personal security

"I have no fixed address, I move location every few days," she says. "You learn to trust almost nobody."

Despite her fears, she still plans to attend the trial of the alleged trafficker in September.

If you would like to help support Jamie Joseph, you can donate through her website www.savingthewild.com.

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