24 rhinos lost in a week

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pretoria - South Africa has lost another 24 rhinos since last week, the Department of Environmental Affairs said on Wednesday.

The figures come as more than 2 000 representative of 178 signatory states to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) gather in Thailand to determine the future of threatened species.

The latest rhino poaching statistics indicate that the Kruger National Park remains the hardest hit, with 15 rhinos being poached for their horns since 20 February. This brings the total number of rhinos killed in the conservation area to 107 since the beginning of the year.

KwaZulu-Natal and North West have each lost 12 rhinos, while eight have been poached in Limpopo and seven in Mpumalanga.

The department said of the 50 people arrested, 47 are alleged poachers and three have been charged with the illegal trade in rhino horn following their arrest, in possession of three rhino horn, during a raid in Johannesburg in February.

In the past week, two alleged poachers were arrested in the Kruger National Park, and two in Limpopo.

“The SANParks Board has recommended to the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs’ that the boundary fence between South Africa and Mozambique be reconstructed,” said SANParks CEO David Mabunda. 

South Africa has hosted two events on rhino conservation and safety and security on the sidelines of the CITES conference in Bangkok, reiterating the government’s commitment to fighting the scourge of rhino poaching.  

South Africans are urged to report incidents of poaching and tip-offs to the anonymous tip-off lines 0800 205 005, 08600 10111 or Crime-Line on 32211. – SAnews.gov.za