News24 12 August 2019

The soldiers who fight against this poaching in national parks and game reserves around South Africa and Africa as a whole, are not traditional army men and women. They are the rangers, vets and conservationists.

While 366 alleged rhino poachers were arrested in the Kruger National Park since the start of last year, 472 white rhinos were poached in the park between April 1, 2018, and July 31, 2019.

This was revealed in Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy’s reply to a written parliamentary question by DA MP James Lorimer.

Apart from the 366 people who were arrested in the park, seven were also arrested in the Pilanesberg National Park and three in the Motala National Park between January 1, 2018, and July 31, 2019.

Of the 376 arrested, 15 worked for SANParks.

Munu, a blind rhino, has been given a new lease on life. The 20-year-old black rhino bull lost sight in both eyes due to a territorial fight in January.

Between April 1, 2018, and July 31, 2019, 472 white rhinos were poached in Kruger, 28 in Pilanesberg, one in Mokala, and two in Marakele.

During the same period, 32 black rhinos were poached in Kruger and three in Pilanesberg.

Creecy said, in her response, due to the “persistent threat” of rhino poaching, South Africa was implementing a “holistic, integrated and multidimensional response”, involving her department, the police, Hawks, SA National Defence Force, SARS’ customs division, National Prosecuting Authority and State Security Agency.

“This approach has seen a moderate decline of 91 incidents from the same period last year,” she added, saying the authorities were also collaborating across the borders to “ensure rhino poachers are brought to book”.  

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