Latest poaching incident raises number to 65 in KZN

2015-08-05 12:14
The white rhino cow that was poached at Mahathunzi and found yesterday morning.

The white rhino cow that was poached at Mahathunzi and found yesterday morning. (Supplied)

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THE total number of rhino poached in KwaZulu-Natal this year is now 65 with another white rhino found dead in a Zulu­land park yesterday morning.

Mahlalela Private Game Farm shareholder Mark Dedekind said a five-year-old white rhino bull was found with its front horn removed.

“There are thousands of rhinos that are being killed illegally in the same way Cecil the lion was killed illegally but nothing is really being done about it.”

He said two teams of poachers had been arrested, with one team arrested as recently as last week, however, it seemed it had made no difference.

“There are so many of them and the money is so attractive to them. It is an almost impossible war to win.”

Wilderness Foundation director Andrew Muir said yesterday that South Africa is almost at the point where the country is losing more rhinos than are being born.

He said that with almost 1 500 rhinos killed in the country this year so far, SA has a crisis on its hands.

“We are nearly reaching tipping point. Almost 1 500 rhinos have been poached this year so far and I expect we are going to exceed the number of rhinos poached last year by 200 or 300.”

He said it was difficult to know exactly how many rhinos there were in SA.

“Many of the rhinos we are losing are females and a number of them were pregnant when they were poached.”

With the two rhinos poached in KZN on Sunday night, in Hluhluwe Double H Private Game Farm and Mahathunzi in Cramond, Muir said that every rhino saved was a step toward keeping the rhino alive. “Private owners have a critical role to play in the protection of rhinos. Around 25% of South Africa’s rhinos are privately owned and they are therefore critical custodians in ensuring their survival.

“The reality is, anyone who owns rhino, be it private or the state, has to have an anti-poaching capacity. You cannot be without an anti-poaching unit if you own rhino.”

He said often it was found that the privately-owned rhinos were not protected by an anti-poaching unit.

“We all need to work together and become efficient in gathering intelligence to fight against poachers.”

KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife spokesperson Musa Mntambo said in June this year the most rhinos were poached in KZN, with 13 killed in a single month.

“We are a few up in deaths compared to this time last year.”

He said 44 arrests had been made this year so far in poaching cases and that up to R100 000 was being offered as a reward to anyone who gave information that would help lead to the convictions of poachers.

No one has been arrested for the poaching incidents on Sunday night

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  rhino

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