13 rhino poachers arrested in 2 weeks

2013-11-25 14:40
Anti-rhino poaching troops simulate the capture of poachers in the Madikwe Game Reserve. (File, AP)

Anti-rhino poaching troops simulate the capture of poachers in the Madikwe Game Reserve. (File, AP)

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Cape Town – Thirteen rhino poachers have been arrested in two weeks, bringing the total number of alleged poachers arrested since January to 285.

According to the Department of Environmental Affairs 267 poachers were arrested in 2012 highlighting an increase of 18 arrests with one month left in 2013.

“The reality is that without the input from various law enforcement agencies, the picture would have been much worse,” spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Affairs, Albi Modise, told News24.

Despite the concomitant increase in the number of rhinos poached for this year the department has lauded the combined effort of SANParks rangers, SANDF, and the police.

"Were it not for these men and women working at the coalface of rhino poaching in South Africa, many more of these iconic animals will have been poached this year," he said.

The number of rhino killed for their horns in South Africa since January has increased to 860. The majority of rhino (521) have been killed in the Kruger National Park (KNP).

The KNP borders Mozambique which is known to be fertile ground for illegal international crime syndicates.

The demand for illegal rhino horn from the Asian black market, where it is regarded as a status symbol, is believed to be the driver behind the rampant poaching.

According to earlier reports rhino poaching between 2008 and 2013 has cost the South African economy R1.1bn. Mostly due to loss of game land through risks of keeping rhino and expensive security measures.

South Africa is home to 25 000 rhino, around 80% of the world’s rhino population.

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Read more on:    sandf  |  sanparks  |  rhino poaching

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