Government combats rhino poaching

2015-11-01 21:15
(Picture: GCIS)

(Picture: GCIS)

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Johannesburg – President Jacob Zuma launched a Joint Operations Centre on Sunday during the Anti-Poaching Awareness Day at Kruger National park.

According to President Zuma, the Joint Operation Centre enables faster decision making and reaction and often more proactive operation.

"This enables us to employ resources more intelligently and to be one step ahead of the poachers," he said.

"Since last year, there has been an increase in the number of poachers entering this park in an attempt to kill the rhino, and there are now up to three incursions per day."

However, the president said they have put measures into place to ensure that the ranger teams are making physical contact with heavily armed and extremely dangerous poachers on a daily basis.

He also said the country brought the rhino back from the brink of extinction in the early 1900's. "We continue to lead the world in rhino conservation best practice and management. It is because of this successful track record that today we are home to 22 000 rhino, which is more than 70% of Africa's rhino, and more than 80% of the entire world's rhino," Zuma said.

Zuma also commended the collaboration between different departments and spheres of government in the numbers of poaching related arrests.

"Ever mindful of the transnational nature of the illegal wildlife trade, I am once again, today, directing our teams to increase the momentum in working with other countries on the continent and globally - These international partnerships are key to ensuring that the fight against poaching and the illegal wildlife trade is addressed on the global stage."

The president also said rhino poaching is not just a conservation challenge. "It also affects communities, it destroys livelihoods and aggravates crime while entrenching poverty in already under-developed communities," he said.

He told those who were attending that rhinos are the heritage of each and every South African.

He profusely added that poaching does not just put money into the hands of criminal gangs, it also increases insecurity and crime in your communities.

"In blowing the whistle on rhino poaching and wildlife crime, you are not only saving a species. You are ensuring the legacy of your grandchildren and their grandchildren," he said.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  poaching

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