Rhino carnage continues


South Africa is losing more than two rhinos a day to poachers and if the current trend continues, come year end the national population will be down by 913, a staggering 245 more than were killed last year.

Arrests in connection with rhino poaching nationally currently stand at 121, with 56 of these in the Kruger National Park and while no nationality details of those arrested are disclosed, the majority are believed to be Mozambicans. This is evidenced from SANParks statements on rhino poaching this year and last.

Against this background of the increasing carnage, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa will tomorrow meet Mozambican Tourism Minister Carvalho Muaria as part of ongoing efforts to improve relations between the two countries.

The talks, according to Ministry spokesman Albi Modise, are expected to focus on the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier conservation Area, established 11 years ago, with an “emphasis on the scourge of rhino poaching”.

The total number of rhinos killed by poachers to date this year is 408 with more than half – 265 – lost from the Kruger population of about 21 000.

SANParks management has upped the intensity of its anti-poaching operations by bringing in a retired army general to head up the effort. In addition to the Kruger ranger corps, Johan Jooste can also call on the assistance of SA Army soldiers employed on border protection duty, police as well as SA Air Force helicopters and SANParks own aircraft along with a Seeker UAV made available by Denel Dynamics and a Seeker Seabird reconnaissance aircraft compliments of the Paramount Group.