The Department of Environmental Affairs this morning released the latest rhino poaching figures. Again, it isn’t great news. 367 rhino have been killed in the country since the beginning of the year.
The latest figures:
Here’s the full statement:
The number of rhino poached in South Africa since the beginning of the year has increased to 367.
The number of people arrested in connection with poaching now stands at 114. The majority of these (109) were alleged poachers, with 5 being couriers. A total of 50 suspected poachers have been arrested in the Kruger National Park.
The Kruger National Park continues to be the most seriously affected by rhino poaching, with 247 animals being killed in the Park since the beginning of the year.
In the North West province 35 rhino have been poached, 33 in KwaZulu-Natal province, 28 in Limpopo Province, 23 in Mpumalanga province and one in Gauteng Province.
A total of 50 poachers have been arrested in the Kruger National Park where Houtboschrand Section Ranger, Andrew Desmet was shot and wounded in the stomach during a joint operation to arrest rhino poachers near Letaba. He remains in stable condition in the intensive care unit of a Nelspruit hospital.
Water and Environmental Affairs Minister, Mrs Edna Molewa, has wished Mr Desmet a speedy recovery.
SANParks Head of Communications, Paul Daphne said while the increasing number of suspected poachers being arrested in the Kruger National reflected the escalating number of people engaging in rhino poaching, it was also an indication that the anti-poaching measures put in place by SANParks were working.
Among the actions taken in the Kruger National Park to combat rhino poaching have been the adoption of a military stance in tackling rhino crimes, the deployment of an unmanned drone provided by Denel, the deployment of two surveillance aircraft and the use of tracker dogs. The Department has signed biodiversity management Memoranda of Understanding with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the People’s Republic of China, recently signing an implementation plan with Vietnam putting into action initiatives aimed specifically at curbing rhino poaching. The signing of the MoU with Vietnam is already starting to yield results through increased security measures against alleged rhino horn smugglers.
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.