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MEDIA STATEMENT

SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT IS AWARE THAT ONGOING SCOURGE OF RHINO POACHING IS LINKED TO WORLDWIDE ILLICIT WILDLIFE TRADE

20 November 2014

The South African government recognizes that the ongoing killing of the rhino for its horns is part of a multi-billion dollar worldwide illicit wildlife trade and that addressing the scourge is not simple. Government will continue to strengthen holistic and integrated interventions and explore new innovative options to ensure the long-term survival of the species.

Government is implementing integrated strategic management of rhinoceros in South Africa to address the ongoing scourge. This includes interventions aimed at disrupting crime syndicates. This has since seen the number of individuals arrested for poaching and related activities increase. A total of 344 alleged rhino poachers, couriers and poaching syndicate members have been arrested in South Africa since the start of 2014.

The record number of arrests this year follows an intensification of anti-poaching actions by SANParks and the police, as well as the SANDF and provincial conservation and security officials.

To date, a total of 1 020 rhino have been killed for their horn since 1 January 2014.  During 2013 1004 rhino were poached for their horns in South Africa. The largest number of rhino poached has been in the Kruger National Park, where 672 rhino have been poached so far this year.

A total of 110 rhino have been poached in Limpopo, 84 in KwaZulu-Natal, 70 in Mpumalanga, 58 in North West and 15 in the Eastern Cape.

The Department of Environmental Affairs recognises that combating rhino poaching requires an adaptable multi-faceted response.  Therefore, the integrated strategic management approach approved by Cabinet is being implemented in an effort to protect South Africa’s rhino.

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa, said at a Rhino Conservation Side Event at the 6th World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia, this week:  “Unfortunately the threat of poaching has continued to escalate while various multi-faceted interventions are being implemented by South Africa.  We are concerned that poaching is part of a multi-billion dollar worldwide illicit wildlife trade. Addressing the scourge is not simple.”

South Africa’s multi-disciplinary response includes the creation of an intensive protection zone within the Kruger National Park, the introduction and implementation of new technology, pro-active intelligence, improving national, regional and international collaboration, and translocating rhino to safe areas within South Africa, and in rhino range states.

** 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.

Rhino poaching statistics

South Africa 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
           
KNP (SANParks)  146 252 425 606 672
MNP (SANParks)  0 6 3 3 0
MAP (SANParks)   0 0 0 0 1
Gauteng  15 9 1 8 3
Limpopo  52 74 59 114 110
Mpumalanga  17 31 28 92 70
North West  57 21 77 87 58
Eastern Cape  4 11 7 5 15
Free State  3 4 0 4 4
KwaZulu-Natal  38 34 66 85 84
Western Cape  0 6 2 0  1
Northern Cape  1 0 0 0  2
 TOTAL 333 448 668 1004  1020