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Minister Edna Molewa welcomes the arrest of international rhino horn smuggling syndicate

17 December 2014

 

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa, has welcomed the arrest of 16 members of a rhino horn smuggling syndicate in Prague, Czech Republic.

“The arrests are to be welcomed and confirm that the killing of South Africa’s rhino for their precious horns is linked to international crime syndicates,” said the Minister.

The battle against rhino poaching requires international collaboration. Therefore, part of the Department of Environmental Affairs’ multi-faceted approach to combat the scourge has included building international partnerships with countries believed to be transit countries for smugglers and alleged consumer nations.

This has included the signing of Memoranda of Understanding in the field of Biodiversity Conservation and Management with countries such as Vietnam, China and Mozambique.  MOU are being negotiated and finalised with several other international partners, including Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Thailand and Kenya.

“The arrests are indicative of the international nature of rhino poaching and wildlife crime. The government is therefore committed to continue working with our international counterparts, through the improvement of bilateral relations, strengthening of regional and global partnerships such as Interpol, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) to nip rhino poaching and smuggling in the bud and save the species from extinction,” said Minister Molewa.

The Minister has appealed to all citizens of the world to stand together and blow the whistle on wildlife crimes, particularly rhino poaching. All people are invited to, over the festive season and during 2015, adopt the South African clarion call to end rhino poaching: “Not on our Watch!”.

For further information contact:

Albi Modise
Cell: 083 490 2871