The Department of Environmental Affairs yesterday released the latest rhino poaching stats — and it makes for sad reading. Already this year, 588 rhino have been poached in the country. This is 140 more than for 2011, and with just over a month until the end of the year it is likely that the number will exceed 600 for the first time.
But the stats also reveal some good news: the number of arrests of those involed in poaching has increased from last year. It certainly is a step in the right direction — even though those steps certainly haven’t been big enough or, at least, aren’t proving to be effective enough. But at least there’s some positive movement. And there needs to be.
|South Africa – Arrests||2012||2011||2010|
|Eastern Cape (EC)||0||2||7|
|North West (NW)||32||21||2|
|Free State (FS)||6||0||0|
|Western Cape (WC)||0||0||2|
|Northern Cape (NC)||1||0||0|
Of those arrests, according to the Department, 217 are poachers, 18 are couriers and 11 are receivers.
What we’ve also seen this year is harsh punishment for those founf to be involved in poaching. I’ve pulled just three examples, from three different news agencies. TimesLIVE reported on February 1 that three poachers were given 25 years each, and TimesLIVE — via SAPA — reported in August that two poachers were given 29-year sentences for their involvement. Then there was the major sentencing earlier this month, where a Thai man was sentenced to 40 years for arranging hunting trips. It is the strongest illegal wildlife sentence to date.
These are all steps in the right direction. Believe it or not, there is some good news. You’re right to argue that there isn’t enough good news, but some is better than none at all.
Now for the bad news… Here are the latest rhino poaching stats:
|Kruger National Parks (SANParks)||146||252||362|
|Marakele National Park(SANParks)||0||6||3|