Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Barbara Creecy, Commends collaborative efforts to combat rhino poaching on World Rhino Day 2019
22 September 2019
The South African government believes that bringing local communities into the mainstream of conservation should continue to be central to our anti-rhino poaching strategy.
Today, the 22 September, South Africa joins the world in marking the 9th World Rhino Day – a day launched by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in 2010 under the theme Five Rhino Species Forever. This annual day has since grown to become a global event drawing attention to the impact of poaching on the continued survival of the species.
“We will redouble our efforts to make sure that communities who live on the borders of our parks benefit from conservation and the biodiversity economy so they are not vulnerable to recruitment by syndicated poaching operations,” said the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Barbara Creecy.
The World Rhino Day serves as an opportunity to build and instill a culture of responsible citizenship amongst communities living adjacent to conservation areas.
South Africa has for years been at the forefront of the fight against rhino poaching and illegal wildlife trade. The cooperation between enforcement agencies and government departments, the collaboration with private rhino owners, NGOs and other stakeholders can be seen as the most important reason for the continuing decrease in rhino poaching in South Africa.
It is on this Rhino Day that government, NGOs, business, ordinary citizens, communities, the youth and conservation bodies unite to celebrate the five species of rhino still left in the world – the Black Rhino, White Rhino, Greater one-horned rhino, Sumatran and Javan rhinos.
The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Barbara Creecy, says the results of working together to save a key member of the Big Five and an iconic species from extinction are evident from the successes recorded in the past year.
“Not only is rhino poaching once again showing a decline, but our successes in the courts are also noteworthy,” said the Minister.
Rhino poaching has continued to decline which is in part due to the implementation of the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros Approach. During the period of January to June 2019, the number of rhino poached countrywide was 318. This was a decrease compared to the same period in 2018 when 386 rhino were killed for their horns.
A total of 190 rhino have been poached in the KNP for the period January to June 2019 despite the 1202 incursions and poacher activities recorded in the Park in the first six months of this year.
“Although the battle to end poaching is far from over, we are proud to say that our efforts as a government, as private rhino owners, and as concerned citizens, are paying dividends as we continue to implement the Integrated Strategic Approach to the management of rhino,” said Minister Creecy.
We note with appreciation, the recent partnerships between the department and the Endangered Wildlife Trust aimed at enhancing detection capabilities at ports of entry and exit through the use of highly trained canines. These canines will assist in screening cargo and luggage for wildlife products, including rhino horn.
Communities living adjacent to national parks, state and privately-owned conservation areas, as well as private rhino owners, rely on the rhino, as a key member of the Big Five, and most importantly a part of South Africa’s cultural, economic and natural heritage. We reiterate our assertion that communities living with rhinos remain as partners in the protection of this iconic species. We must all say that this scourge of rhino poaching cannot continue under our watch. We, therefore, call on them and the rest of society to be vigilant and report any suspicious wildlife crimes to the anti-poaching hotline number 0800 205 005 or by calling the police on 10111.
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