SanParks is calling for society to help in the fight against rhino poaching by being more vigilant and reporting any suspicious behaviour. This is following an incident yesterday where the carcasses of two rhinos (a cow and its baby) were discovered by a safari vehicle in the Kruger National Park (KNP). Both animals had been shot and had their horns removed.
An investigation was conducted by members of a joint SanParks and SAPS team of officials, which saw the arrest of four Kruger National Park officials last night who were linked to rhino poaching activities. All four individuals were based in the Pretoriuskop section of the Kruger, which has seen 11 rhino deaths alone since January 2012. The suspects include a field ranger who has previously embarked on strikes against SanParks in the Kruger and a member of the Protection Service unit (a traffic cop).
‘It is a very sad day for South Africa to find out that the unscrupulous and revolting hands of the poaching syndicates have stretched as far as to taint the hands of those trusted with the great responsibility of being guardians of our natural heritage,’ said SanParks CEO Dr. David Mabunda, ‘I am personally saddened to discover that some of our own would so callously abuse the confidence and faith that we have entrusted upon them.’
According to SanParks, the Kruger National Park has had 43 rhino deaths and 80 rhinos have been poached in total throughout South Africa since the beginning of 2012.
Below are SanParks’ current statistics on rhino poaching:
And their current statistics for arrests related to rhino poaching:
Mabunda stated that society also has a role in identifying and reporting any suspicious behaviour that could lead to the demise of our animals and towards the conviction of these criminals. This will surely help. However, it is a ‘wait and see’ method as opposed to a ‘prevention is better than cure’ solution. There must be action initiated before poachers have the chance to even get close to the animals, otherwise when a call is eventually made, the animal may already be dead. Perhaps the new radar technology could pose a solution in this regard, it may be expensive to set up, but when something so priceless is at stake, surely these measures must be taken?
What can you do to help?
For tip-offs call SanParks on 082-908-3053 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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