Rhino poaching on the rise in KZN

A total of 106 rhinos have been poached in the province since January.

The increased number of rhino poaching cases in the KwaZulu-Natal, according to KZN Tourism and Environmental Affairs, is due to alleged coordination between criminal syndicates and conservationists.

In 2020, 93 rhinos were poached in KwaZulu-Natal parks, compared to 102 the previous year. Since January, 106 rhinos have been poached.

While the security forces are responding and more rangers are being deployed, only co-ordinated provincial, national, and international responses will have a long-term impact.

“My department has been tasked by the premier with processing and implementing the recommendations of the Task Team on Rhino Poaching in KwaZulu-Natal’s report, which is still in progress,” said KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Ravi Pillay.

“It is my considered view that releasing the report into the public realm at this time will not be in the public’s best interest. Indeed, the writers classify key sections of the study because of the sensitive nature of its implications for future investigations. The report’s main points are being discussed, and a multi-disciplinary approach will be required by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the National Department of Environmental Affairs, SAPS, NPA, and State Security,” Pillay added.

There is evidence of co-ordination between criminal syndicates and individuals in charge of environmental protection.

According to Pillay, a new board of directors is set to be announced soon. The procedure would have ended last month if not for the latest KwaZulu-Natal floods.

The new board’s appointment will be a watershed moment in Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s institutional recovery and anti-poaching activities.

“In the meantime, rhino poaching remains a high-priority crime, with the support of the SAPS’s highest levels, including the provincial commissioner,” he concluded.

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