Chissano: Most rhino poached by Mozambicans

Cape Town - The majority of South Africa’s rhino are being killed by Mozambican poachers, former Mozambique president Joaquim Chissano said this week.

Chissano was speaking at the launch of the Joaquim Chissano Foundation Wildlife Preservation Initiative in Maputo on Monday.

He said 70% of the rhino killed in South Africa can be attributed to Mozambicans and a corresponding 68% of all poachers arrested in South Africa have been Mozambican citizens.

According to Chissano, Mozambique is facilitating the loss of rhino because it is fertile ground for illegal international crime syndicates to target Mozambicans who lack a perspective for a better life and who have the requisite skills to be poachers.

“Mozambique must develop units of rangers with logistical means to increase the efficacy of their work. Mozambique also needs to have law reform where stiff penalties for wildlife crimes are metered out for all that are involved in the poaching chain,” he said.

Over 800 killed

The number of rhino killed illegally in South Africa during 2013 has reached 825 according to recent reports.

The Kruger National Park, which is situated on the border of Mozambique, has suffered the highest losses at 500.

The increasing demand for rhino horn is driven by the Asian black market where customers regard it as a status symbol and it is believed to have aphrodisiac or healing properties.

The recent spike in killings has drawn warnings from conservationists who say rhino will soon undergo overall population decline as the number of rhino killed exceeds births.
 
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