Rhino poaching: Ezemvelo head slams syndicates

2010-10-01 00:00

THE CEO of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) has expressed concern about the poaching of rhinos and blamed the practice on syndicates operating around the country and feeding the demand of a black market in countries around the Far East.

Dr Bandile Mkhize said existing markets in countries such as the People’s Republic of China, Vietnam and Thailand, where there are huge black markets for rhino horns, are to blame.

“They just want the horn, they don’t care about the rhino itself,” said an upset Mkhize.

He was speaking during the handover ceremony of an Atlas Springbok luxury bus donated by Springbok Atlas to EKZNW to be used to transport various stakeholder groups to functions involving nature conservation, a project known as “Conservation on Wheels”.

The handover ceremony was held at Westgate Industrial Park in Pinetown yesterday.

Mkhize said he hoped the introduction of projects such as Conservation on Wheels would help educate communities about preserving nature and creating awareness on the need to curb the ever-increasing problem of rhino poaching.

“We are calling on communities to be ambassadors of caring for our wildlife and to protect and preserve it,” Mkhize said, adding that poverty alleviation was key in fighting the scourge of rhino killings because some people were involved in the activity due to poverty.

He said 14 rhinos had been killed in KZN alone since the beginning of the year, while 210 have been killed around the country so far.

“I must emphasise that these figures reflect only on the rhinos that we know were killed, which means the numbers could be more,” Mkhize said.

Meanwhile Paddy Vella, CEO of Springbok Atlas, said it made good sense to them as a company to get involved in nature preservation and in a project such as Conservation on Wheels.

“We are very involved in tourism and the only thing we offer is this beautiful country of ours as a product, that is why we want to be part of conserving the beauty of this land,” he said.

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