With year-end three weeks away the Department of Environmental Affairs has not updated national rhino kill statistics since August but the figure for the Kruger National Park is this week just 42 short of the 827 killed in the iconic game reserve last year.
Mario Scholtz, head of SANParks anti-poaching unit, apparently let this information slip while attending a wildlife crime discussion at Unisa on Wednesday.
“We are 42 rhino short of last year’s 827 killed in the park,” he is reported as saying after being informed of the killing of four more rhino.
In August Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa told a briefing in Cape Town the national kill figure was 749 with Kruger as has become the norm the epicentre of rhino poaching activities losing 544. Last year there were 1,213 rhino killed in South Africa.
At the same time Molewa indicated she would be lodging an appeal against the rhino horn moratorium judgement handed down in the North Gauteng High Court last month.
In a statement she said her department’s leave to appeal suspends both the operation and execution of the judgement.
“The moratorium on domestic trade in rhino horn thus remains in place.”
She emphasised the appeal in no way was related to the international trade in rhino horn for commercial purposes. This is still prohibited in terms of the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).