General, Rhino Protection Programme, Wildlife Crime

South African Government Remains Committed To Efforts To Fight Rhino Poaching

Media statement by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs

The South African government remains committed to intensifying interventions to fight against rhino poaching through the enhancement of international relations. It has drawn up and negotiated a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with a number of countries and is in negotiations with critical range states, such as Mozambique.

A delegation from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic was recently hosted by a team of officials from the Department of Environmental Affairs to discuss possible areas of cooperation.

The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa, and the Minister of Tourism in Mozambique, Mr Carvalho Muaria agreed during a meeting in June to a follow up technical meeting between South Africa and Mozambican officials who are in enforcement, environment and tourism. The meeting is to be held in preparation for a further more comprehensive Ministerial engagement with Mozambique. The parties will also be discussing comprehensive measures regarding common areas of action to be taken jointly by the countries, and possibly other parties involved in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. These will be aimed at combatting poaching and to distracting the illicit trafficking of rhino horn, elephant tusks and other wildlife and related products. The meeting is expected culminate in an agreement between the two countries resulting in both states intensifying actions in all affected areas of enforcement in the area of wildlife protection and biodiversity conservation.

Parallel to this the rhino poaching issue is receiving more intense attention within the Justice Crime Prevention, Defence and Security Council of the Southern African Development Community. This is being facilitated by the South African National Defence Force.

To date 167 alleged rhino poachers have been arrested in South Africa since the start of 2013. The increase in arrests comes as the total number of rhino poached in South Africa since January 2013 has increased to 587. The Kruger National Park remains hardest hit having lost 362 rhino to alleged poachers so far this year. Among the total number of rhino poached, 60 have been killed for their horns in North West and KwaZulu-Natal respectively, 59 in Limpopo and 39 in Mpumalanga.

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.

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