20 November 2014
The number of rhinos killed for their horns continues to rise in South Africa, fuelled by a multi-billion dollar illicit global trade in wildlife.
The South African department of environmental affairs says 1 020 have been killed so far since January 2014, 16 more than the number of rhinos killed during the same period last year.
Kruger National Park seems to be the prime spot for rhino poaching. The park recorded highest number of rhinos killed with 672 poached so far this year. By province, a total of 110 rhino have been poached in Limpopo, 84 in KwaZulu-Natal, 70 in Mpumalanga, 58 in North West and 15 in the Eastern Cape.
In a statement released on Thursday, 20 November, the department said curbing rhino poaching is exacerbated by the lure of big money for the poachers who are raking in huge amounts of money from their illicit deeds.
However, South Africa will continue to strengthen existing measures to curtail the killing of rhinos in the country, and is working on new ways to ensure the long-term survival of the species.
“Government is implementing integrated strategic management of rhinoceros in South Africa to address the ongoing scourge. This includes interventions aimed at disrupting crime syndicates,’ the department said.
Some of the perpetrators have not gone scot free, though. South Africa’s efforts to arrest and bring them to book have seen some success. A total of 344 alleged rhino poachers, couriers and poaching syndicate members have been arrested in South Africa since the start of 2014.
The record number of arrests this year follows an intensification of anti-poaching actions by the South African National Parks (SANParks), the police, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and provincial conservation and security officials.
“South Africa’s multi-disciplinary response further includes the creation of an intensive protection zone within the Kruger National Park, the introduction and implementation of new technology, pro-active intelligence, improving national, regional and international collaboration, and translocating rhino to safe areas within South Africa, and in rhino range states,’ says the department.
Speaking at a Rhino Conservation side event at the 6th World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia, this week, Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa, said it is unfortunate that the threat of poaching has continued to escalate while various multi-faceted interventions are being implemented by South Africa.
“We are concerned that poaching is part of a multi-billion dollar worldwide illicit wildlife trade. Addressing the scourge is not simple.’
The public can report incidents of poaching and tip-offs using the anonymous tip-off lines 0800 205 005, 08600 10111 or Crime-Line on 32211.