Environmental affairs provide rhino poaching update

Photo by Denese Lups

South Africa and Mozambique have identified a number of projects to assist with the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of Biodiversity Conservation and Management signed on 17 April 2014.

Representatives from the two countries have concluded a draft of the Implementation Plan that will put into action the areas of cooperation identified in the MoU.  It is hoped that the Implementation Plan will be finalised and signed by the end of July 2014.

Discussions have started on fundraising projects to address the scourge of rhino poaching, wildlife trafficking in general, community development issues and raise awareness about the plight of the rhino.  Talks have also been held regarding the strengthening of enforcement mechanisms to ensure rhino poaching is nipped in the bud.

The meeting between the two countries following the signing of the MoU came as the number of rhino poached for their horn since the beginning of 2013 increased to 376.

A total of 106 people have been arrested for rhino poaching-related offences since 1 January 2014.

The Kruger National Park continues to bear the brunt of rhino poaching in South Africa, having lost 245 rhino so far this year.  The only province not affected by poaching this year has been the Northern Cape. A total of 39 rhino have been poached in Limpopo, 37 in KwaZulu-Natal and 26 in North West.

The governments of South Africa and Mozambique have agreed that the Ministers responsible for the implementation of the MoU will meet annually to discuss progress and identify areas for further cooperation and additional attention.

The MoU was signed at Skukuza in the Kruger National Park by the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Mrs BEE Molewa, and the Mozambican Minister of Tourism, Mr Carvalho Muária.

Among steps being taken by South Africa and Mozambique since June 2013 to address the menace of rhino poaching have included:

  • Immediate maintenance and erection of fencing along the eastern boundary of Kruger National Park with Mozambique;
  • Strengthening of the buffer zone in Mozambique through the establishment of the Greater Lubombo Conservancy;
  • Creation of an intensive protection zone in the Limpopo National Park;
  • Deploying a well-trained and armed anti-poaching unit for joint collaboration with the Kruger National Park team and the
  • Synchronisation of operational plans between the Limpopo and Kruger National Parks.

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.

Rhinos poached

South Africa 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
KNP (SANParks) 146 252 425 606 245
MNP (SANParks) 0 6 3 3 0
Gauteng 15 9 1 8 3
Limpopo 52 74 59 114 39
Mpumalanga 17 31 28 92 12
North West 57 21 77 87 26
Eastern Cape 4 11 7 5 9
Free State 3 4 0 4 4
KwaZulu-Natal 38 34 66 85 37
Western Cape 0 6 2 0 1
Northern Cape 1 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 333 448 668 1004 376

Number of arrests

South Africa 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
KNP (SANParks) 45 133 73 82 67
MNP (SANParks) 0 0 0 0 0
Gauteng 0 10 26 6 10
Mpumalanga 2 34 66 73 16
Eastern Cape 0 0 0 2 7
Limpopo 20 70 43 34 36
North West 11 26 32 21 2
Free State 0 7 6 0 0
KwaZulu-Natal 28 63 20 4 25
Western Cape 0 0 0 0 2
Northern Cape 0 0 1 0 0
TOTAL 106 343 267 232 165
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