Rhino poaching figures
Rhino poaching in South Africa has seen an alarming and exponential increase. Ten years ago, 25 rhino were poached. In 2012, 668 rhino were slaughtered for their horns.
The official statistics released by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs for 2013 state that:
Number of rhino poached by 12 June 2013: 408
Number of rhino poached in Kruger National Park by 12 June 2013: 265
Number of arrests for rhino poaching and horn smuggling by 12 June 2013: 121
The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park is home to approximately 40% of the world’s rhino population. This 37 572 km2 transfrontier park (roughly the size of the Netherlands), which has been called the world’s greatest animal kingdom, is home to the world’s largest population of white rhino and the second largest population of the critically endangered black rhino. Sadly, it has also recently become known as the frontline of the rhino poaching war, particularly across the international border between Mozambique and South Africa, where it has escalated to a level which not only threatens the survival of rhino populations, but also the continued viability of the transfrontier park.
The relentless brutality is a cause for grave concern. Without drastic interventions at all levels, the last surviving rhino in the wild may already have been born.
Peace Parks Foundation has been working closely with the governments of Mozambique and South Africa to identify and deal with weaknesses in the current cross-border protection model.
Mozambique and South Africa are developing the following key interventions at a joint management and cooperation level:
- Jointly training park management staff and rangers to improve joint anti-poaching efforts;
- Finalising a joint operations cross-border protocol to facilitate joint operations between the two countries; and
- Aligning the two countries’ policies and legislation pertaining to wildlife crime.
South Africa has undertaken a number of strategic interventions to stem the tide of rhino poaching in all its protected areas, notably in Kruger National Park, which is home to the world’s largest rhino population.
Mozambique is implementing a number of measures to combat wildlife crime. New legislation to combat the scourge has been approved by the Council of Ministers on 21 May 2013 and has now been referred to Parliament for adoption. The legislation is closely aligned with the fines and penalties for wildlife crime prescribed by the Southern African Development Community.
The National Agency for Conservation Areas (ANAC), which was approved in April 2013 to oversee the implementation of the government’s conservation programmes in its protected areas, has the combatting of wildlife crime at the top of its agenda.
Peace Parks Foundation is assisting the government of Mozambique with a number of its efforts in Limpopo National Park:
Please assist us with this crucial undertaking to safeguard rhino
- A new protection unit coordinator, as well as a protection section leader for the northern region of the park, have been appointed;
- Rifles and ammunition more suited to anti-poaching operations, as well as a variety of anti-poaching equipment for the rangers, are being acquired;
- An intensive protection zone is being established along the international boundary with South Africa, coupled with the implementation of a curfew for driving at night;
- The deployment of an unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) pilot project to patrol the park and detect the movement of wildlife criminals crossing the international border between the two countries is being investigated;
- An informants’ network, combined with a rewards and incentive system for the rangers, is being established. Already operative, is that 50% of fines levied against poachers accrue to the field rangers involved in the operations;
- A community awareness programme through meetings, theatre; leaflets, posters and radio programmes, is being introduced;
- Disciplinary measures are being undertaken against four rangers who have been found to have aided poachers;
- A voluntary resettlement programme to relocate people living inside the Limpopo National Park to areas outside of the park is under way. The programme entails relocating 7 000 people residing in the park, with the first 1 000 people successfully relocated in 2012. The process will be fast-tracked to ensure that the park's core zone is fully protected within the next three years; and
- A 56 km kilometre elephant-proof fence, to minimise human-wildlife conflict and provide a fully protected eastern buffer, was erected on the south eastern border of the park.
Donors supporting this project
The Rufford Foundation
Agence Française de Développement (AFD)
Dutch Postcode Lottery
Swedish Postcode Lottery
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)