Rhinos: former rangers called in

2011-11-04 00:00

KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife, which estimates that about 442 rhinos will be killed by the end of this year, has called on former employees to help it with rhino management and mentorship programmes.

Ezemvelo’s Jabulani Ngubane, who heads the rhino security intervention plan to combat rhino poaching, was briefing the media yesterday.

The World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature and the wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic this week said that 341 rhinos have been killed this year compared with 333 last year and 83 in 2008.

Ngubane said KZN is one of three provinces that are managing to combat the scourge, which is driven by syndicates with huge financial resources and changing tactics.

In some cases Ezemvelo’s own staff have been involved in poaching, Ngubane said. And when the perpetrators are caught it takes a long time to convict and sentence them.

Ngubane said Ezemvelo cannot afford high-tech equipment, but recently bought a helicopter for aerial patrols and cyber trackers to replace the GPS system. It has put R300 000 aside for informer networks.

“What we want is a proactive strategy, not a reactive one. We are developing intelligence so that we are able to act before the rhino goes down.”

Four staff members have been dismissed and four transferred to forest reserves for being involved in rhino poaching.

The WWF also announced last week that rhinos have finally become extinct in Vietnam after the carcass of its last Javan rhino was found shot and without its horn.

• thamsanqam@witness.co.za • ingrido@witness.co.za

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