2008-10-02 00:00

Conservation authorities in this province have prided themselves in the past on their determination to save the threatened rhino. This makes the report that 12 white rhino and one black rhino have been poached and slaughtered in KwaZulu-Natal’s game reserves this year particularly disturbing. The purpose of these killings was in each case to take the horn for the illicit ivory trade and leave the body to decompose. It seems clear that, far from being haphazard, they are the outcome of organised, syndicated crime.

The province’s conservation agency Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has had its own internal problems with the recent dismissal and redeployment of its CEO, together with questions around the integrity and competence of members of its board. Nonetheless, it is critically important that this body and the South African Police Services succeed in arresting those who are intent on decimating the province’s rhino population.

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