Rhino poaching under spotlight during Prince Charles’s visit

2011-11-05 00:00

THE huge increase in rhino poaching in South Africa came under the spotlight when King Goodwill Zwelethini welcomed Prince Charles and Camilla to Zululand yesterday.

The visit to the Ondini Palace in Ulundi was part of the couple’s five-day tour of South Africa.

The Zulu king said, “Prince Charles as the current president of the World Wildlife Fund will be acutely aware of the rate of poaching of rhino … [and] South Africa, with the largest rhino population in the world, is the prime hunting ground for these animals.

“Eight hundred rhinos have been killed for their horns in the past few years.

“Some 310 rhinos are said to have been killed this year alone. Without any preventative measures these numbers are set to increase. What we must do now is to determine ways of preventing poaching and accelerating the breeding of these animals.”

His thoughts were echoed by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who said that as South Africa prepares to host the COP17 conference on climate change in Durban, it is inevitable for people’s thoughts to turn to conservation.

“Like you, our king is a champion of conservation. Animals are very important to us … that is why we call the king a lion, a leopard and an elephant.” he said, adding

Buthelezi added that he too is deeply concerned about the slaughter of rhino in the province and countrywide.

He said that while Prince Charles had in the past been ridiculed for his stance on environmental issues many of the concepts he championed are being accepted as truth today.

“I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on climate change tomorrow afternoon [Saturday],” he said.

Prince Charles said that as president of the WWF he takes a close personal interest in wildlife and conservation issues.

“I look forward to my visit to Phinda later today to see a sustainable project in operation,” he said, adding that he was keen to see for himself the economic benefits of tourism and the impact it has on education and health through the creation of schools and clinics.

“It is heartening to see sustainable solutions being made for problems with deep roots — South Africa has a remarkable track record of dealing with such issues.”

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