Kruger Park rhinos to be moved to strongholds, other countries

2014-08-12 17:29

Rhino along the eastern boundary of the Kruger National Park are to be moved to so-called strongholds both inside and outside the flagship reserve to protect them from poachers.

“South Africa is considering a range of rhino strongholds, inclusive of national parks, provincial reserves, communal areas and private reserves,” Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said today.

Molewa said her department was also looking at moving some rhino out of the country.

“Part of the translocation will include the Southern African Development Community... We have already started discussions with Botswana, we are working with Zambia, we are working with other countries, but more intensely those two in particular,” she said.

Within the park, authorities would establish “intensive protection zones” aimed at reducing the threat to rhino.

“Here, several technologically advanced methods are being explored to help anti-poaching teams to intensively reinforce the protection of rhino,” Molewa said.

South African National Parks’ large mammal ecologist Sam Ferreira said up to 500 rhino could be removed.

“If you want to give rhino a chance, you remove them from places where they have a high probability of being killed. The kind of numbers are based on sound ecological models ... you can remove rhino up to roughly about 500,” he said.

Molewa said that between January and August 6 this year, 631 rhino were killed by poachers in South Africa, 408 of them in the Kruger.

The most recent rhino population survey, conducted last year, showed there were currently between 8 400 and 9 600 white rhino in the park.

“Poaching, natural deaths and the translocation of rhino from the Kruger National Park currently match that of rhino births,” she said.

Ferreira said the rhino birth rate in the park was about 8%, the natural death rate about 2% and the poaching rate about 6%.

He said it was important to note that in 1960 there had been no rhino in the Kruger National Park until 350 were introduced from KwaZulu-Natal. This population had grown to between 8 700 and 12 200 by 2010.

He said it should also be noted that the total rhino population in South Africa continued to grow.

National police commissioner Riah Phiyega said that South African Police Service units were pursuing rhino poachers from the Kruger into Mozambique.

“Yes, we have a hot pursuit agreement, meaning that when ... somebody crosses the border, we do have an agreement with Mozambique to follow through,” she said.

“[Hot pursuits] are happening... They happen all the time,” Phiyega said, declining to give details of how many such operations had taken place.

Last year, 1 004 rhino were killed by poachers in South Africa, 606 of them in the Kruger.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.