A meeting of the minister of water and environmental affairs, Buyelwa Sonjica, deputy minister Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi and MECs responsible for environment portfolios in provinces has called for integrated anti poaching efforts to halt the growing number of rhinoceros being killed by poachers.
The two-day meeting held in Kwa-Zulu Natal early in September 2009, gave its support to efforts by various conservation authorities to stop poachers in their tracks. The minister and the MECs expressed their political support to provincial authorities, but also called for an integrated anti-rhino poaching strategy incorporating all rhino range provinces and the department of environmental affairs.
Since January this year a total of 84 rhinos have been killed:
- Kruger National Park: 33
- Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife: 19
- Gauteng: 3
- North West: 5
- Limpopo: 7
- Eastern Cape : 1
- Mpumalanga : 16
South African National Parks (SANParks) will lead an inter-provincial agencies’ team which will be aimed at co-ordinating efforts by all the affected parties. The department of environmental affairs has established a multi-party national biodiversity investigators’ forum as a platform for discussion and the sharing of information on biodiversity related law enforcement issues, including rhino poaching.
Since the beginning of the year a total of 22 poachers, mostly foreign nationals, have so far been arrested by both the SANParks and the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife joint operations.