R1m reward to fight rhino poachers

2012-12-12 11:56
(Green Renaissance)

(Green Renaissance)

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Government considers legalising rhino trade

2012-12-12 12:16

A senior government leader says legalising the rhino horn trade could help reduce the high rates of rhino poaching. Watch.WATCH

kalahari.com

Cape Town – The South African National Parks (SANParks) announced it has acquired the services of an army general who is highly rated to oversee the overall anti-poaching operations in the park.

The introduction of Major General Johan Jooste (60) was made in the Kruger National Park by SANParks CEO Dr David Mabunda.

Mabunda said this concludes the foundation phase of the multi-pronged strategy against rhino poaching.

"This strategy is to leverage on existing capacities and strategic alliances, while bringing the much needed thinking and innovation on existing gaps and loopholes.”

Mabunda also announced a cash reward of R100 000 to members of the public who give information for a successful arrest of a suspected poacher, as well as a R1m bonus for a successful conviction of a poaching syndicate mastermind.

“We are also happy to announce our partnership with South Africa's Crime Line, a groundbreaking initiative that allows members of the public to make anonymous SMS tip-offs on suspected crimes at any time of the day, courtesy of LeadSA, a Primedia and Independent Newspapers initiative.”

Experience

According to Mabunda, SA has lost an unprecedented number of rhino of which in the last five years most were killed in the Kruger National Park.

“This has resulted in warranted and unwarranted sanctions both internally and internationally on South Africa’s strategy of managing the poaching of rhino. It is therefore, our hope that the approach that we are taking at this moment, by engaging Major General Johan Jooste will in time bring the much needed invigoration in the fight against the decimation of our natural heritage.”

The major general has a vast experience in military intelligence, border and area protection and also contemporary knowledge of modern technology use and integration into capability and some knowledge in conservation.

His appointment comes after the deployment of a Seeker Seabird aircraft donated by the Ichikowits Family Foundation as well as an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Seeker 2, loaned to SANParks by arms manufacturer Denel.

The two military aircraft will provide the much needed intelligence especially at night when most incursions and poaching incidents are taking place. “This will give added advantage to the ground troops and will hopefully act as a deterrent.”

The Vietnamese and South African governments on Monday signed an agreement on the wildlife trade.

"South Africa and Vietnam have publicly signalled their intention to get tough on the criminal syndicates behind the rhino poaching spree," WWF-Greater Mekong conservation director Stuart Chapman said in a statement.

Agreement

Although the agreement refers only in general terms to addressing illegal wildlife smuggling, "there are clear indications that rhino horn trafficking will be top of the new agenda on co-operation between the two nations", the WWF said.

The agreement would remain in force for five years, after which it might be extended with the consent of both countries.

Vietnam's Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Cao Duc Phat, said his ministry was submitting a decision on banning the import of rhino parts into the country this year.

Hundreds of rhinos are poached in South Africa every year, with figures rising 21.6% in 2011 up from the previous year.

If you have tips on rhino poaching, you can call 08600 10111 or send a text to 32211.


– Follow Chantelle on Twitter.
- News24
Read more on:    wwf  |  sanparks  |  rhino poaching  |  poaching
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