Authorities consider dehorning as KZN rhino numbers drop

Posted on 7 August 2023 By Jordyn Johnson

More than 60% of rhino deaths in South Africa in 2023 occurred in KwaZulu-Natal, with poachers focusing on the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, ‘one of the world’s last strongholds of wild rhino conservation,’ reported the Daily Maverick.

dehorning rhino

On average, one rhino is killed daily in KwaZulu-Natal, a crucial region for rhino conservation. Poaching statistics for the first half of 2023 reveal that 231 rhinos were poached nationally, with 143 of them falling victim in Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife run reserves. In contrast, once home to over 10,000 rhinos, the Kruger National Park saw only 43 poaching incidents during this period.

The Environment Minister, Barbara Creecy, discussed potential measures to curb the KwaZulu-Natal poaching crisis, including the option of dehorning rhinos in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. However, no decisions have been finalised. The department allocated R40 million to Ezemvelo for repairing or replacing weak sections of the park’s boundary fence, which is often breached, leading to wildlife entering nearby communities.

dehorning rhino

A Tactical Operations Joint Control Centre was established to address the issue, aiding the deployment of South African Police Service (SAPS) personnel to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. A dedicated prosecutor from the National Prosecuting Authority is also assigned to expedite rhino poaching cases in KwaZulu-Natal.

Overall, South Africa continues to grapple with a persistent threat to its rhino population, prompting efforts to enhance conservation measures and combat poaching.

Pictures: Unsplash

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