Integrated Effort to Combat Rhino Killings in South Africa
Government officials have called for an integrated anti-rhino poaching strategy incorporating all rhino range provinces and the Department of Environmental Affairs.
The worsening state of rhino poaching in South Africa has called for improved action, collectively by national park management, government officials and specialized police services. The Deputy Minister of Police in 2014, Maggie Sotyu, explained that because rhino poaching has become an organized crime, the police have dedicated a Special Investigation Unit to rhino poaching, with SAPS Detective Services leading the investigations.
A meeting of the former Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Buyelwa Sonjica, Deputy Minister Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi, and MECs responsible for environment portfolios in provinces had 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.
On 17 August 2014, a total of 659 rhinos had been killed during the year:
- Kruger National Park: 418
- Limpopo: 84
- Kwa-Zulu Natal: 57
- North West: 44
- Mpumalanga: 35
- Eastern Cape : 11
- Free State: 4
- Gauteng: 3
- Western Cape: 1
- Northern Cape: 1
- MNP (SANParks): 1
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. Between January and August 2014, a total of 165 poachers, mostly foreign nationals, had been arrested by both the SANParks and the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife joint operations.