Government calls on all South Africans to assist in the fight against rhino poaching

21 September 2012

The Department of Environmental Affairs would like to make a renewed call for action by all South Africans against the ongoing scourge of rhino poaching, ahead of the third annual World Rhino Day on the 22 September 2012.

Spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Affairs, Albi Modise stressed that, “It is clear we need to continue working with all stakeholders and our entire South African society, if this war on rhino poaching is to be won. It is clear that this is an organised crime. And in dealing with organised criminals we need inputs and action from all South Africans in an organised manner.”

The latest statistics on rhinos poached for 2012 stand at 388, with the Kruger National Park having lost a total of 241 rhinos since the beginning of the year. Limpopo, the North-West and KwaZulu-Natal continue to be the provinces most targeted by poachers, collectively accounting for 119 of the total rhinos poached this year. 

The South African government views the illegal killing of our national treasure in a very serious light and our commitment to addressing rhino poaching remains unwavering. Government continues to prioritise our fight against this crime jointly with the security cluster Ministers and their departments.

Operation Rhino still remains a standing agenda item of the National Joints Committee (Nat Joints Com), which comprises of senior members of SAPS, NPA and the South African National Defence Force. As a result of this ongoing cooperation, 203 people have been arrested in 2012 alone for rhino poaching and related activities. Of these, 176 were poachers, 10 receivers or couriers and 17 were couriers or buyers.

Numerous other identified interventions continue to be implemented in an attempt to curb rhino poaching. These interventions range from publication and implementation of the norms and standards for the marking of rhinoceros horn and for the hunting of rhinoceros for trophy hunting purposes to the Council of the Global Environment Facility having approved R 25m of funding aimed at strengthening our wildlife forensic capabilities. At an international level, the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation on the field of Biodiversity Conservation and Protection between South Africa and Vietnam is at an advanced stage.

“However the concern expressed by South Africans as well as the numerous initiatives aimed at raising awareness around the poaching of our precious resource also needs to be commended as South Africans prepare to commemorate World Rhino Day this Saturday. The public continue to make a meaningful contribution in the fight against poaching but enhanced participation is required to deal effectively with this grave situation before is too late,” said Modise.

Government would like to reiterate its call to the South African public to be an active part of the fight against rhino poaching.  Any incidents of rhino poaching or tip-offs that can prevent illegal killings or lead to arrest can be reported to 0800 205 005. 

Total number of rhinos killed this year:


SA 2010 2011 2012
KNP (SANParks) 146 252 241
MNP (SANParks) 0 6 3
GP 15 9 1
LIM 52 74 43
MP 17 31 19
NW 57 21 40
EC 4 11 3
FS 3 4 0
KZN 38 34 36
WC 0 6 2
NC 1 0 0
TOTAL 333 448 388

Total number of arrests this year:


South Africa - Arrests 2012 2011 2010
KNP (KNP) 49 82 67
MNP 0 0 0
Gauteng (GP) 26 16 10
Mpumalanga (MP) 56 73 16
Eastern Cape (EC) 0 2 7
Limpopo (LP) 34 34 36
North West (NW) 21 21 2
Free State (FS) 6 0 0
KZN (KZN) 10 4 25
Western Cape (WC) 0 0 2
Northern Cape (NC) 1 0 0
Total 203 232 165


For media queries contact:

Albi Modise
Cell: 083 490 2871 or

Roopa Singh
Cell: 082 225 3076