Join the war, surrounding communities urged

2011-03-25 00:00

EZEMVELO KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) has called on all communities living around game reserves to join the fight against rhino poaching, saying the damage done to the parks by poaching is just as devastating for the communities living around them.

Comfort Ngidi, chairperson of KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Board, told reporters in Durban yesterday EKZNW is spending at least R50 million a year in its attempt to curb rhino poaching. Most of the money is being spent on field rangers’ salaries, fencing and specialised equipment.

He said that last year alone, South Africa lost about 365 black and white rhinos. Since January, eight rhinos have been killed in KZN, and about six were poached in KZN wildlife reserves.

“We are facing a well-organised and well-equipped consortium backed by wealth.”

Ngidi blamed the increase in rhino poaching on the improving economies in the Far East countries. “Many people have money to pay for rhino horn in their traditional medicine, and the rumour going around that the horn can cure cancer is creating a frightening demand.”

He said EKZNW has acquired new technology to manage rhino populations, formed a partnership with Interpol and over the years has developed a wildlife crime working group with members of the police and the National Prosecuting Authority.

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