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Bewaring/Conservation


Rhino Poaching Figures Slightly Down
27 Jul 2017

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Rhino poaching in South Africa surged from 83 in 2008 to a record 1,215 in 2014 to meet burgeoning demand in newly affluent Asian countries such as Vietnam, where their horns are prized as an ingredient in traditional medicines.

For 2017, the toll is 529. But poachers are still running amok throughout the country. The provincial breakdown for rhino poaching losses this year is: KwaZulu-Natal 133, Gauteng 1, Limpopo 41, Northern Cape 17, Eastern Cape 3, Mpumalanga 22, North West 45 and the Free State 24.

This translates to 2.93 rhino being slaughtered each day in South Africa.

The minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa said the interventions that they are now embarking upon dealing with the rhino are also implemented to counter the poaching against elephants. In her medium-term budget, Minister Molewa allocated R104 million for combating wildlife crime from 2016 and 2019.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the roughly 40km of missing fence in the Kruger National Park between South Africa and Mozambique would eventually be replaced.

Kruger has traditionally borne the brunt of poaching and continues to do so with 243 carcasses found so far this year compared with 354 over the same period last year.

“Whilst there has been a decrease in the number of Rhino killed for their horn in the Kruger National Park and Mpumalanga, the number of Rhino poached unfortunately increased in some other provinces as we said before. And it is a concern and we report here today also that there have been some 30 elephants which were poached in the Kruger National Park,” she added.

A total of 243 rhino carcasses were found in the Kruger National Park, which has traditionally borne the brunt of rhino poaching, down from 354 in January-June last year, but the decrease in Kruger was mostly offset by increased poaching elsewhere.

Part of the DEA’s approach to fighting poaching has been the translocation of rhino, approved by Cabinet in 2014, which approved the transfer of up to 500 animals.

“For the most part, all rhinos were doing well and have established well in their new environments. It should be mentioned, however, that one facility [in the Free State] experienced an aggressive poaching onslaught and lost 15 rhinos out of 35, some of which originated from the KNP,” Molewa said.

STROOP film maker Bonné de Bod said that “if we exclude Kruger’s dramatic decrease this year it tells us another story, which is we have had a huge increase in rhino poaching nationally, up by over 50%.

“And we already know this from KwaZulu-Natal where Hluhluwe-iMfolozi has been hit hard these past few months with their worst poaching ever,” De Bod said.

“When I was in the Northern Cape recently an investigative officer there told me there had been a dramatic increase there as well.

Compared with this time last year, Kruger was sitting at a figure of 111 more rhinos poached, De Bod noted.

“But if we exclude Kruger’s dramatic decrease this year it tells us another story, which is we have had a huge increase in rhino poaching nationally, up by over 50%.

“And we already know this from KwaZulu-Natal where Hluhluwe-iMfolozi has been hit hard these past few months with their worst poaching ever,” De Bod said.

“When I was in the Northern Cape recently an investigative officer there told me there had been a dramatic increase there as well.

“So I’m afraid no good news out of this press conference for private rhino owners and smaller parks outside of Kruger, where the onslaught is not only continuing, but seems to be ramping up.”

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Rhina alive