Two rhino found slaughtered in Weenen reserve

2012-03-15 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL’S reputation in the fight against rhino poaching took a dent when two were found freshly slaughtered near Weenen this month.

One was found this week.

Pietermaritzburg-based international rhino expert Richard Emslie told The Witness KZN had a better record of rhino conservation than the other eight provinces.

“However, numbers are up again, which is a concern.”

The latest poachings were of adult cows, which were found in the Weenen Game Reserve with their horns removed.

“Both carcasses were fresh and estimated to be two days’ old,” said Jabulani Ngubane, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife rhino security co-ordinator.

One was found on March 3 and the other on Monday, he said.

Emslie said much had been done to promote rhino conservation.

“A lot of increases have been allocated, but what does make it difficult is that we are dealing with organised crime,” he said. “In an ideal world you could throw more money at the problem, but the government has other things that it needs to deal with.”

Emslie said South Africa deserved a lot of credit for informing the public about the scourge and releasing statistics about the numbers of rhino that had been poached.

According to Ezemvelo’s website, 39 rhino were killed in KZN in 2010; 34 last year and 15 so far this year.

Ngubane said Ezemvelo had an intervention plan involving high-tech equipment and the deployment of newly trained rangers.

He pointed out that the government had played a critical role in funding Ezemvelo.

“We are currently working closely with the Department [of Water and Environmental Affairs] regarding this matter.

“At a higher level, there are different initiatives that are being implemented to combat poaching,” he said.

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