Rhino poaching: National security threat

2013-05-29 08:33
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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Cape Town – The rhino poaching crisis being experienced in the Kruger National Park is increasing in magnitude daily, the Game Rangers’ Association of Africa (GRAA) said.

"This situation has escalated to the point whereby as of 23 May, 1 065 rhino have been poached within the park since 2010."

The association said it finds the current situation deplorable.

"We acknowledge the role played by the dedicated field personnel who are attempting to keep this situation under control. The sacrifices that these men and women are making in order to ensure the preservation of our natural resources deserve further recognition and appreciation."

The GRAA called on President Jacob Zuma and the South African government to fully acknowledge the onslaught that rangers are facing while they attempt to protect not only South Africa’s rhino but its natural heritage in general.

"Professionally trained and armed militia from Mozambique enter South Africa to plunder the country’s natural resources on a daily basis. The current poaching situation needs to be moved beyond the responsibility of the department of environmental affairs."

The association called on the South African government to take a zero tolerance approach to what amounts to total disrespect of the country’s borders.

"We call for an increased South African National Defence Force presence on our borders to maintain their effectiveness in securing the property, economy and citizens of South Africa.

"We urge the South African government to address the matter immediately with Mozambique at the highest possible diplomatic levels, with the mandated ministerial departments and to exert severe pressure on the Mozambican government to address the situation."

According to the association the situation has escalated from an environmental issue to one of national security.

Read more on:    rhino poaching

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